December 12, 2000
As a strong advocate of lifelong learning, Mr. Li Ka-shing has pledged his support to the Open University of Hong Kong to help achieve its mission of “Education for all”. Mr. Li has announced a donation of HK$44 million to help the Open University of Hong Kong to establish the Island Learning Centre in Hong Kong, which will enrich continuing education opportunities for working adults. The dedication ceremony for the Li Ka-shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE) was held today (December 12).
LiPACE will offer vocational training, professional programs, overseas distance-education programs and on-the-job training for adult learners. There are currently 10,000 students enrolled.
The establishment of the Island Learning Centre marks an important milestone in Open University’s development. Not only does it relieve the University of the burden of hiring facilities elsewhere, the centre also provides adult learners with an ideal study environment at a convenient location. In addition, it allows the University sufficient room for expansion to cope with the increasing number of continuing education students.
In a speech made during the dedication ceremony, Mr. Li made mention of a children’s book entitled The Knight in Rusty Armour, which he had been sharing with his grandchildren. In recognition of his bravery in slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in distress, the Knight was conferred a shining suit of armour. The Knight grew accustomed to success and did not notice that his armour had begun to rust. He attributed his success to his shining armour and neglected the fact that it was he who created the success. When the armour had become so rusty that he could hardly move, he realized that the armour had become his liability. He sought for help everywhere and was finally able to shed himself of this burden to create a new success.
Mr. Li sees the story as a modern parable for Hong Kong. “Hong Kong’s success over the years is the result of the hard work of many generations. But the global competition we face in the areas of knowledge and the economy means we must enter a new cycle. The globalization of the economy has forced upon us competition from different countries and different regions. We compete with developed countries in education, trade, tariffs, and markets; we must also compete with the low cost labour provided by developing countries. In our fast-changing world, we are always competing with time. Abundance of capital or natural resources is no longer sufficient. To achieve a breakthrough we must also utilize advanced technology. The only thing that will keep us in step with the times is our eagerness to learn.
“Our past successes have given us considerable advantages. But our ability to adapt to a myriad of situations will be an important factor in keeping our armour shiny. Like the knight in the story, we must identify our difficulties wisely and objectively, and then muster the courage to face these challenges, and summon the will power and the determination to overcome all obstacles. We must encourage and support each other, and continuously acquire new knowledge in order to create a harmonious, healthy and valuable society and a new Hong Kong miracle.”
The dedication ceremony was attended by Prof. Wei Yu, Vice Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China; Mrs. Fanny Law, Secretary for Education and Manpower; the Hon. Henry Tang Ying-yen; OUHK Council Chairman Mr. Charles Lee; Deputy Chairman Dr. Philip Wu; and President Prof. Tam Sheung-wai.
Mr. Li Ka-shing established the Li Ka-shing Foundation in 1980 to promote the advancement of education and medical care in Hong Kong and mainland China.