Generation 40s – 四十世代

Good articles for buddies


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唯才是用無界限

信報財經新聞
銘想英國
2017-03-04

陳思銘

上星期,我把得到英國傑出校友獎的榮譽,分予我的母校華威大學及一直在推動英國升學路上與我並肩的隊友。特別是後者,如果沒有他們向來的支持推動,也沒有今日的陳思銘。

不少人都留意到,我的團隊很年輕,作為升學中心,我的辦公室有時確實很有青春校園feel。曾經有些人為此戥我擔心,因為覺得時下這些後生仔女很惡搞。近年經常性聽到僱主詬病年輕一代特別是九十後的新聞,甚至聽聞本地有些企業見九十後如見鬼,最終導致公司人手不足而結業。

作為老闆,我必須承認我的眼睛有孽障:我看不到我隊友的年齡組別,我看到的只是他們的表現。我真心相信,工作上只有夠不夠好,沒有夠不夠後生或夠不夠老。我的團隊很有活力、很有諗頭、很有拚勁、很有責任心,不是因為他們來自幾多十後,而是因為他們每一個本身都是有活力、有諗頭、有拚勁、有責任心的人。我深信唯才是用的道理,拒絕將「年長」等同有責任感,或是在「年輕」和創意中間畫上等號。經驗告訴我,不論是六十後、七十後、八十後、九十後,都會有膊頭可付託重責的人,也會有想像力天馬行空轉數奇快的人。身為僱主,我致力聘用叻人來協助我,而叻人是每個年代皆有的產物。純粹以出生年代來區分個人的質素,實在是太兒戲了。

尊重是靠能力賺回來

以前在英國讀寄宿學校,每年暑假返港,例必有姨媽姑姐問同一問題:「你啲鬼仔同學有無因為你係中國人蝦你呀?」其實寄宿學校是社會的縮影,鬼仔同學不一定全是橫行無忌的技安(胖虎),亞洲同學也非全是被欺壓的大雄。寄宿生活很快教會我,每個地方、民族、階級都會有人是惡霸,有人會炫富,同時亦會有善良的人、正直的人。在學校如果有人看你不順眼而蝦你,多是因為你不夠融入、或態度囂張、或畏首畏尾。相反,如果一個人舉止磊落大方,自會贏得老師、同學的尊重,跟你的膚色無關。

講到尾,我其實想講的是,讀書也好,工作也好,尊重是要靠能力表現品格賺回來的,並不與閣下的性別、年齡、膚色、種族、星座等掛鈎。


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香港私立自資院校策略性角色(上)

信報財經新聞
教育講論
2017-03-04

何順文

在香港,非牟利私立自資(或稱民辦或獨立)高等院校的重要性,一直未受到應有的重視,政策落後於整個形勢與環球趨勢,也是對香港作為國際先進經濟體的一個諷刺和缺陷。政府曾提及的公私型雙軌發展模式有待急起直追。

本文將以上下篇探討一下,香港私立自資高等院校的策略性角色。

2000年前政府多年來一直奉行英式精英主義,嚴緊控制學位教育,只由政府資助(或稱公營)院校供應及壟斷,資助學士學額嚴重短缺。多年來適齡入學率維持少於兩成,也嚴重造成社會不公,違反了大學教育普及化的環球趨勢。

最近一項國際調查顯示只有兩成香港勞動人口有學士學位,大幅落後於其他先進經濟體的四成多。這個偏低教育程度未能應付一個知識型社會的需要。社會不斷演變前進,學歷愈低就業或流動的機會就愈低,人們不斷要自我增值。

發展起步遲須追趕

自2000年起,香港高等教育發生了基本的變化。2000年9月教統會在其(二十一世紀的教育藍圖)報告中,建議政府鼓勵私立專上院校經評審後頒發學位。報告指出發展私立大學能驅動社會各界為高教出資獻力,提供多元互補的教育機會,造福學生。另外,前特首董建華於2000年《施政報告》承諾「十年內讓高等教育的普及率達到60%」,但實際上大幅增加的學額不足兩成為學士水平。

奮鬥多年的私立樹仁學院,早年曾拒絕政府直接資助,堅持四年制及辦學自主,於2006年經評審獲準正名為「樹仁大學」,也是唯一一所校監不是特首的大學。事實上,早年私立的崇基、新亞、聯合、浸會及嶺南皆因接受政府直接資助而被迫放棄追求成為私立大學的理想。這些院校有得有失已成為歷史,但也令香港私立大學發展長期停滯不前。

為擴大認可學士學額而不動用大幅額外公帑,港府於2009年起根據〈專上學院條例〉(即第320章),透過批地和免息貸款來鼓勵更多民間辦學團體開辦自資學士課程,扶助部分具潛質的「學院」日後申請正名為私立「大學」。非牟利私立自資院校的復興,打破了多年來香港學位教育由公營院校主導的單一局面。

質素保證與獨特貢獻

自2009年起陸續有珠海、恒管、東華、明愛、明德、港專、能仁及宏恩等8所私立院校按上述條例註冊成立(另外還有兩所公立自資院校,即公大及VTC高等教育科技學院)。他們以自資形式每年提供合共13000個政府認可學士學額,令本地總入學率升至近三成多,減輕了本土學生的升學壓力,和提升社會公平與流動性。

在香港,能夠入讀學士課程的學生,必須達到文憑試33222的最低成績要求(約佔35%考生)。這些私立院校的校園設施、師資、師生比例、課程、教學、財政穩建性、畢業生出路與質素保證機制均受香港學術及職業資歷評審局(HKCAAVQ)的嚴格評審及監察,因此質素及成果有一定保證。部分私立院校更已具備大學體系、規模和國際教研與管治水平,也有明確計劃和時間表,以申請正名為一所大學。

私立自資院校有更多的自主、靈活性和創新,更着重優質小班教學與學生個人發展,補充了公校在教育模式上的不足,令香港高教的長遠發展更為多元化、平衡與可持續。但它們也有其挑戰與困難,待下期討論。

(待續)

撰文:何順文
恒生管埋學院校長


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「狀元」學校新征途

信報財經新聞
銘想英國
2017-02-18

陳思銘

Cardiff Sixth Form College有「全英最有腦學校」之稱,其學術成績之優異可想而知。這間英國排名第一的A Level學校,校園任何風吹草動自然都會受到矚目,早在幾個月前,有關Cardiff Sixth Form College的各種謠言猜測已經甚囂塵上,預示有大件事即將發生,未幾馬上傳來大地震:學校創辦人Yasmin Sarwar離開自己一手一腳建立並創出驕人成績的學校。

轟動「分手」消息

Yasmin Sarwar與Cardiff Sixth Form College「分手」的消息,成為近日英國教育界最沸騰的話題。兩者各奔向怎樣的前程,亦是全國目光所向。據悉Yasmin Sarwar已投身Oxford International College,將會舉辦嶄新的世界課程,推動新的教育理念。

至於Cardiff Sixth Form College,校長一職由Gareth Collier出任,學校並且將由Duke’s Education所收購。有問Duke’s Education何方神聖也?這個教育機構成立於1999年,本身有涉足出版界,不少人曾聞Duke’s Education之名,都是多得他們出版過的一本著名攻考牛津劍橋的攻略書籍So you want to go Oxbridge? Tell me about a banana…。事實上對於事業路迷惘的學生來說,Duke’s Education的存在有如黑暗中的明燈,在協助學生升學及就業發展上,有着出色的表現及豐富的經驗。近年來為各大小學校舉辦過升學及職業訓練講座、工作坊無數,也把好些學校外判出去的職業發展部門辦得有聲有色。集團近年銳意辦學,Cardiff Sixth Form College之前,被收歸旗下的學校已有3間,分別是位於倫敦北部的Fine Arts College;位於倫敦西部,專攻醫療科學科目的Acorn College;以及在Kent的Rochester Independent College。可以想像,能夠接手這間位於威爾斯首都的英國頂級名校,這企業集團當然也絕非泛泛之輩。

Cardiff Sixth Form College現有如此具規模及經驗的集團作後盾,加上企業化管理、新的資金和更充裕資源的情況下,會有一番什麼景象,大家都急不及待想知道。許多家長學生尤其關注的是,當學校走出Yasmin Sarwar所創造的神話,走向集團企業化,其學術上的佳績是否能夠保持?為了釐清各方疑惑,新校長Gareth Collier真的不遺餘力,更會親臨香港,講解學校變天後的最新情況,解答家長和學生的問題。

然而,大地震才剛震完,許多都仍是未知之數。想真正了解Cardiff Sixth Form College的何去何從,大家還是得耐心拭目以待它今後的表現。


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How innovative China is beating Facebook, Google and Amazon at their own game

CommentInsight & Opinion
2017-03-21
Niall Ferguson says China, unlike Europe, has shown great economic and political acumen in choosing to challenge the dominance of US internet giants

Only in China could there already be a museum of internet finance. Though most Britons have barely adopted the term “fintech”, online banking is old hat in Beijing.

I toured the museum with its founder, Wang Wei, who delighted in showing me exhibits such as a bitcoin cash machine. The cryptocurrency is eight years old: in today’s China, that’s ancient enough to belong in a glass display case.

Some time soon, Europe needs a similarly designed museum of political idiocy. In its glass cases, I would like to exhibit stuffed specimens of politicians who have so hopelessly failed to understand the information technology revolution that began in California in the 1970s and has now almost completely taken over the world.

Prime candidates for the taxidermist’s knife are the members of the UK’s Commons Home Affairs Committee. They have laid into Google, Facebook and Twitter for not doing enough to censor the web on their behalf. Yvette Cooper, their chairwoman, complained that Facebook had failed to take down a page with the title “Ban Islam”. As she put it: “We need you to do more and to have more social responsibility to protect people.”

Another possible exhibit in the museum of political idiocy is Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, who unveiled a draft law last week that would impose fines of up to 50 million euros (HK$417.6 million) on social networks that failed to delete “hate speech” or “fake news”. He said: “Too little illegal content is being deleted and it’s not being deleted sufficiently quickly.”

If these people want censorship, let them get on with it, but arguing that Google and Facebook should do the censoring is nuts. As if these companies were not already mighty enough, European politicians want to give them the power to limit free expression.

Best of all is the revelation that government advertising has ended up on jihadist and white supremacist websites. The news that London’s Department for International Development and the Metropolitan police have been spending taxpayers’ money in this undiscriminating way just strikes me as more evidence of European naivety.

There are three essential points to understand about the IT revolution. First, it was almost entirely a US-based achievement, albeit with contributions from computer scientists who came to Silicon Valley from all over the world and Asian manufacturers who drove down the costs of hardware.

Most of the big breakthroughs in software that made mass personal computing possible were made in America – think Microsoft and Apple. The internet, too, was made in America. Online retail was made by Amazon, founded in 1994 in Seattle. Online search based on the PageRank algorithm: made by Google, founded in 1996, its first office a garage in Menlo Park, California. Online social networking for one and all: made by Facebook, founded in 2004 at Harvard. YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006), the iPhone (2007), Uber (2009), Snapchat (2011) – you get the idea.

A post on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page shows him running through Tiananmen Square in Beijing, in March last year. Photo: Facebook

Point two: the most important of these companies are now mind-blowingly dominant. In Facebook’s little red book for employees, it is written: “The quick shall inherit the Earth.” Mark Zuckerberg has certainly inherited quite a chunk of this planet. His social network now has 1.23 billion active daily users.

Google and Facebook are predicted to increase their combined share of all digital advertising this year to 60 per cent. Google has 78 per cent of US search advertising. Facebook has 39 per cent of online display advertising.

Third point: this dominance translates into crazy money. Facebook will make US$16 billion from display advertising this year. The business is valued today at about US$400 billion, including a US$30 billion cash pile. That equips Zuckerberg to buy up pretty much whatever comes along that he likes the look of – as he did with Instagram, for example.

It is an amazing state of affairs. Consider the functions these companies perform. Google is essentially a vast global library; it’s where we go to look things up. Amazon is a vast global bazaar, where more and more of us go to shop. And Facebook is a vast global club. The various networking functions these companies perform are not new; it’s just that technology has made the networks both enormous and very fast. The more interesting difference, however, is that in the past libraries and social clubs did not make money from advertising. They were funded out of donations or subscriptions or taxes.

In other words, the truly revolutionary fact is that our global library and our global club are both making money from advertising, and that the more we tell them about ourselves, the more effective the advertising becomes, sending us off to Jeff Bezos’ bazaar with increasing frequency.

Not for nothing is “Fang” the investors’ acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. These guys really have got their teeth into us.

Confronted with this American network revolution, the rest of the world had two options: capitulate or compete. The Europeans chose the former. You will look in vain for a European search engine, giant online retailer or social network. The US Fang has been well and truly sunk into the EU.

The Chinese, by contrast, opted to compete. By fair means and foul, they made life difficult for the Americans. And they encouraged their own entrepreneurs to build businesses that rival the giants of Silicon Valley. The acronym of the moment in Beijing is “Bat”: Baidu (the biggest search engine), Alibaba (Jack Ma’s answer to Amazon) and Tencent (the nearest thing to Facebook).

These companies are much more than clones of their US counterparts; each has been innovative in its own right. A good example is Tencent’s ubiquitous messaging app

WeChat, which, by using QR codes to allow users to exchange contact details, is fast destroying the business card.

Needless to say, Silicon Valley gnashes its fangs at being shut out of the vast Chinese market. Zuckerberg has not yet given up hope, doing interviews in Putonghua and even jogging through the smog of Tiananmen Square. The recent experience of Uber cannot encourage him. Last year, it ran up the white flag in China, accepting that it could not beat the homegrown ride-sharing business Didi Chuxing. Cue more gnashing.

I have to say I admire how China took on Silicon Valley and won. It was not only smart economically but smart politically, too. Beijing now has the big data it needs to keep very close tabs on Chinese netizens. And good luck to the US National Security Agency as it tries to get through the Great Firewall of China.

Museums are where history’s victors display their trophies. What I learnt last week is that China may be winning the latest battle in the IT wars: to take not just banking but money itself online.

Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford


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「謀食」與「謀道」——從生涯規劃看人生意義

信報財經新聞
教育講論
2017-02-18

曾志滔

薪金是我們選擇工作時其中一個考慮因素,但是金錢回報卻非職業給我們的全部。人既須「謀食」,亦要「謀道」。然而現今香港社會的主流價值,又有多少空間讓年輕人思考自身的人生意義?

香港大學校長馬斐森於本月初宣布辭職,將出任蘇格蘭愛丁堡大學校長。有趣的是,多份報章都以他「甘願減薪跳槽」為焦點,形容「港大薪酬福利比不少海外大學還要好。馬斐森是次轉工,年薪將大幅減少逾300萬港元,約為他現時人工的一半」。又附以香港各大學校長的年薪水平作比較。

「前途」=「錢途」?

這些報道正正折射了香港社會的價值取向——「前途=錢途」,金錢的回報是選擇工作時的首要因素。假如薪金待遇優厚, 何妨為五斗米折腰?相反,轉工沒有換來更好的待遇,彷彿愚不可及。人們願意為了五斗米而折腰,似乎已成常態。可是,只為錢而活也不見得快樂。很多香港人終日抱怨工作沉悶乏味、壓力大、沒有意義。

究竟工作所為何事?怎樣的工作生涯才能給人快樂?

工作其一功能的確是「謀生」,透過付出勞力賺取金錢,維持生活所需。但筆者深信金錢以外還有更多東西值得我們深思:例如工作所帶來的滿足感和使命感,工作崗位又是否能讓人發揮所長,甚至學到新的技能。這些感受,將會讓我們能夠稍稍脫離金錢的束縛,在工作中找到人生的意義。

據筆者的輔導經驗,一般年輕人對薪金和收入沒有什麼概念。他們模模糊糊地覺得人工愈高愈好,但從來沒估算過生活開支,也沒有想過要賺多少錢才能維持生活。在生涯規劃課裏,我們會使用香港輔導教師協會《生涯地圖》中的「理想人生大拍賣」活動,幫助同學了解自己的價值觀和對事業選擇的影響。遊戲中老師扮演拍賣官,隨機抽出十多項「美滿人生」的描述,同學則需要盡量爭取他們希望買到的項目。活動完結後,老師邀請同學分享拍賣項目代表的不同生活方式和它們所反映的人生觀。活動引發同學思考「賺幾多才算足夠?」和「我想過怎麼樣的生活?」。他們漸漸會意識到人生的追求除了物質,還可以有如「身份認同感」、「歸屬感」、「富挑戰性的人生」等心靈層面的嚮往,亦可以包括實踐「改善別人生活」、「造就他人」等抱負。即使有學生表示「賺錢」是人生目標,我們也會嘗試幫助他們探討背後的原因,如供養家人,或令自己的生活更有滿足感。

上月筆者以「人生召命」為題,探討老師如何協助同學透過撰寫回顧式的自述文章,探索自己的人生方向。若人找到「我所擅長的事」、「我為人欣賞的事」和「能改善別人生活的事」三者的交滙處,就能找到自己的人生召命。尋生涯召命的概念,也為同學們打開了思考自身人生價值的一扇窗,讓他們對自己的興趣、才能、信念和志向作深刻反思,選擇最適合自己的前路,而非隨波逐流,只選擇看似能賺錢的職業和學科。

最近香港輔導教師協會與突破機構合作,於2017年1月出版了《Breakazine──未來工作想像指南》書誌,深入探索現今香港人多種的生涯足跡。書誌走訪了數十位職涯中作了非一般選擇的過來人,發現他們的生命經歷裏,都有着不一樣的生活態度。

不必只向金錢靠攏

其中一位故事主人翁,擁有建築學士和藝術碩士的學歷。他曾任中學老師,是別人眼中「薪高糧準假期多」的優差,但主人翁沒有因為金錢優厚而忘卻自己的感受,他坦言工作令他沒有喘息的空間而辭職。這個選擇,是否太儍呢?又未必。往後他到了地盤學紮鐵,從勞動中能夠學以致用,將建築和藝術知識發揮出來。後來他又轉職大學當一名校工,享受閒時可以畫畫創作的空間,進一步發揮自己的藝術天分。在一般人眼中,他的行為,也許會被視為浪費學歷和青春。但他覺得每天從事自己不喜歡的工作的人,才是真正浪費生命。正所謂人各有志,活得精采,不必只向金錢靠攏。

生涯規劃教育不是要人不食人間煙火,但我們更強調讓年輕人找到自己所珍視的人生價值,從而勾勒對未來的工作及生活想像,並加以裝備自己,一步一步實現理想。若只顧「錢途」而選擇和自己的志向不相符的職業,定必違己交病,生活難以順心。其實,只要找到發揮自己的道路,縱然荊棘滿途,也可以得到心靈上的富足。

香港輔導教師協會與突破機構以《未來工作想像指南》書誌為主軸,發展一系列讓年輕人參與的生涯探索活動。期望生涯規劃輔導教師能以此為起點,在年輕人社群、家長群體,以至社區內,引發更多更深入的思考和討論。《未來工作想像指南》延伸教育活動簡報會將於2017年2月27日於突破中心舉行。詳情請參閱香港輔導教師協會網頁及Facebook專頁。

撰文:曾志滔
香港輔導教師協會主席