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Inspiring Future Leaders

Where academia and the real world intersect

“Service learning is not just volunteer work. It’s an integral part of a holistic education.”

In the past, many universities justly deserved to be called an ivory tower, a term used to describe “a state of privileged seclusion or separation from the facts and practicalities of the real world.”

But what if you could attend a university that gave you the opportunity to set up solar powered e-learning platform for underprivileged children in Rwanda? Or preserve the cultural heritage of a quake-hit village in rural China through eco-tourism?

If you were a student attending The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, that would be an exciting opportunity to apply your knowledge in improving the lives of those less fortunate. Starting in 2012 when the University implemented its four-year undergraduate curriculum, the Service-Learning programme has been a mandatory credit-bearing requirement. PolyU is the first university in Hong Kong to introduce such a programme.

This aligns with PolyU’s key goals of providing students with opportunities to become responsible global citizens who make meaningful contributions to the community. Through the Service-Learning programme, all undergraduate students are expected to apply the knowledge and skills acquired from their studies and help effect positive change.

According to President Prof. Timothy W. Tong, “We want to nurture global citizens and instil in them a serving heart and strong sense of social responsibility.” He adds that “Service-Learning is not just volunteer work. It’s an integral part of a holistic education.”

Also important is giving students the chance to prepare themselves in their chosen professions with real-world work experiences through what is known as Work-Integrated Education. This programme provides work-based learning experiences in organizations relevant to a student’s future profession and helps them develop generic skills that will be valuable in their careers. Opportunities include internships in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and overseas countries.

There is also a Student Exchange programme for the University’s students to go overseas and for overseas students to study at PolyU where a broad-based and multidisciplinary curriculum is offered with breadth and depth.

Through all these efforts, the University provides a high value-added education model for the rising generation, ensuring students to get the most from their studies at PolyU, where they will find a university that is both enriching and engaging.  

PolyU nurtures future leaders, making students more reflective and more aware of the importance of a service mindset

With the global transformation of economies from industrial to service orientations, the expectations placed on future leaders have changed remarkably. The holistic development of students, covering their professional competencies, moral character and caring disposition, is now in high demand. PolyU has been offering a credit-bearing Service Leadership subject for undergraduates since 2012. Apart from lectures, the subject features experiential and reflective learning. Students are also engaged in role play, group discussion, debates and other class activities as they learn to be tomorrow’s service leaders. Overall, they are expected to gain a better understanding of the service leadership model and the related core beliefs. By continuously refining the four-year undergraduate curriculum, PolyU has made excellence in teaching a hallmark of the University and helped students become tomorrow’s leaders in their chosen professions. We also have related initiatives for developing the potential of young people, including the Silk Road International Summer School and Silk Road Youth Leadership Programme. Together with Peking University and Xi’an Jiaotong University, we have organised the Silk Road Youth Leadership Programme – a one-year training programme with the objective of nurturing first-year students into tomorrow’s leaders with global vision. To ensure our education offerings remain relevant to society, the University needs to keep its finger on the pulse of Hong Kong. We will continue to impart the knowledge and skills of our future leaders to serve an evolving world and to spur economic growth.