Hong Kong Baptist University

Comments and Suggestions on The Future of Information Technology Development As Set Out in the Chief Executive's 1997 Policy Address


We welcome and warmly support the IT developmental goals and objectives set forth in the SAR CEO's 1997 Policy Address. Our specific comments and suggestions on relevant paragraphs of the address are set forth below:

31 Stimulating New Technology Industries

The setting up of the Applied Research Fund is a most welcome re-balancing of the emphasis currently given to pure research through the Research Grants Council.

It is imperative that this better balance be sought because without it, there would be insufficient leveraging of the results of pure research to achieve more immediate benefits for Hong Kong.

B.44 Connecting to the Information Age

The four items listed viz: hardware for high capacity communications; common software interface; enabled people; and appropriate cultural environment are surely key success factors.

However, we must keep in mind that the order of listing is not to be construed as rankings of importance. They are all important conditions which collectively will cause or produce the desired result.

Unfortunately, in the public mind, the order of listing is also seen to be the ranking of importance, and the priorities to be attached to each. This is an incorrect perception.

45. Information Technology Co-ordination

The long sought goal of obtaining high level, governmental attention and leadership for IT matters is finally to be achieved --- MAYBE!

Hidden in the promise of a Bureau Secretary to take responsibility for IT is a vexing vagueness. Will there be a new policy bureau with exclusive and total responsibility for IT, with an IT capable Secretary to lead the Bureau? Or will the IT portfolio simply be one of several for an existing policy bureau headed by an existing policy Secretary?

The latter alternative, if it is chosen, does not offer much promise for success.

46., 47. Information Technology in Education

The initiatives in these paragraphs are all the more welcome for their being long overdue, particularly with respect to schools education.

However, they only implicitly address the real issue. The proper area for concern is not IT in or for Education. The real issue is the role of education in developing an Information Age citizenry and society. To this end, an Educational Information Infrastructure Policy, which encompasses the entire educational system, needs to be quickly thought through.

In the absence of such a clearly articulated policy, the specific initiatives set forth, while all welcome, tend to be incoherent and, in the time framework indicated, perhaps be unachievable in any meaningful fashion on the one hand, or unable to achieve their unstated goals on the other hand.

Perhaps in view of the shortness of time and the absence of any previous high level policy development in this area, preliminary ad hoc initiatives aimed at the most glaring omissions is all that can reasonably be expected.

In any case, ad hoc though they are, the initiatives are all well directed and most welcome.

Let us hope that the hardware installation targets, although certainly achievable, will not result in waste because the teacher enablement targets are not well articulated with the hardware installation targets and are unlikely to be meaningfully achieved in the same time framework.

48. The Challenge Ahead

A challenge it certainly is, and one which will require the very best efforts of all of us. With effort, diligence, imagination, and creativity, the challenge can be met and the goals achieved. But there are not the watch-words of 弎usiness as usual�

Last Updated on 7 December 1997