The Tin Ka Ping (TKP) Foundation has been making major donations to the Faculty for more than 30 years – indeed, the late Dr Tin Ka Ping's name is synonymous with philanthropy in education. He was a Founding Honorary Patron of the HKU Foundation; in 2008, the TKP Education Fund was established to enhance the capacity of the Faculty to provide the most advanced knowledge and philosophies of education for the benefit of students in Greater China.
By 1991, 10 years after its launch, TKP Foundation donations had already supported hundreds of new teaching facilities in schools and universities. Through the introduction of Professor Cheng Kai-Ming, now Emeritus Professor, Academic Unit of Social Contexts and Policies of Education, and Professor Paul Morris, then Faculty Dean, the Foundation and the Faculty launched a visiting fellowship in Chinese Education together. What was a HK$50,000 fellowship in 1991 has now developed into an HK$11- million education fund in support of the Faculty.
Since the beginning of the TKP Visiting Fellowship Scheme, 257 scholars have come to HKU. Mr Tin Hing Sin, Chairman of the TKP Foundation said, “it has grown from two to three scholar exchanges on a yearly basis in the early 1990s to 14 fellows per year on average from 1998-2007. With the establishment of the TKP Education Fund, the fellowship scheme then became one of the three major supporting areas, along with TKP Postgraduate Fellowship, the TKP Grant for Experiential learning, as well as TKP’s Distinguished Lectures and school education seminars. Also, we have extended the scheme to junior fellows who are prospective PhD candidates, and young scholars from other developing countries.
“These funds not only contribute hugely to knowledge sharing and transfer, they help create research collaboration, encourage professional development and nurture partnerships too.”
In 2013, the TKP Foundation added yet another string to its philanthropic bow, with a donation to what was then intended to be an ad-hoc one-off principal’s training programme for educators from Gansu, proposed initially by Northwest Normal University scholars and the Gansu education commission inspired by their earlier fruitful exchange at the Faculty. It would soon become much more.
“A successful example is the project for school improvement and principal professional capacity development in rural schools in Gansu Province, including principals and administrators,” said Mr Tin, “whereby the Foundation and the Faculty’s Centre for Educational Leadership (CEL) identified a new four-party collaboration, the “GUNS” model (Government, University, NGO, School), aimed at lifting the education standards of rural schools.
“We were convinced by Dr Ng Ho Ming, from the CEL’s Management Committee, to take on the challenge in three-stage training: from principals to directors to selected school management teams. This meant the school improvement plans could take place with internalised sustainability and top-down support from the local government. To date, this on-going training project is still the largest in Hong Kong for mainland educators. I must also pay tribute to the many professional volunteers, including senior teachers and retired principals in Hong Kong.”
In recognition of all the Foundation has done for the Faculty over the years, the Faculty library was renamed the Tin Ka Ping Foundation Education Library in 2017. In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr Tin mentioned the support HKU has given in making the Foundation’s educational dreams come true.
“We are committed to contributing to our country by improving the quality of education through promoting all-round education, a whole-person development, traditional Chinese values with a focus on moral education,” he expressed. “Working with HKU to carry out our missions has been a tremendous success. Given the impact our partnership has made on teachers and schools – and therefore on the kids and their parents – we are thankful for the HKU family’s playing an important part in fulfilling the mission of our Foundation.”
Finally, he summed up what he hopes the Foundation’s support for the Faculty means to students and academics, “broadening global perspective and understanding of China by knowledge transfer, cross-border partnerships, and experiential learning, where the mission and vision of the Faculty takes education to the next level for the future generations.”