Hong Kong Forum Discusses Connections Between Education Investments, Economic Growth

NEW YORK, November 18, 2015 – The Future of Education in Asia was held on November 16, 2015, in Hong Kong. The forum brought together leaders from education, business, and policy to discuss connections between the educational investments and economic growth in Asia. Dr. James Heckman, 2000 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, provided keynote remarks. Following Dr. Heckman's keynote, Ada Wong, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture; Antony Leung, CEO of Nan Fung Development Limited; and Dr. Tony Jackson, Vice President of Education at Asia Society; discussed connections between educational investment and economic growth in Asia. The discussion was moderated by Tony Mackay, CEO of Centre for Strategic Education.

Asia's economic growth to date has been significantly driven by a manufacturing economy dependent on low-wage, low-skill workers. To ensure its global competitiveness, many countries in Asia will need to transform to a more knowledge-based economy driven by innovative, entrepreneurial workers with 21st century skills. At the same time, Asian economies as well as others worldwide need to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. Thus, these countries face major policy questions related to how to reform their education systems in response to globalization. The approach Asian nations take to transform their education systems will provide important lessons for others seeking to adapt to meet the challenges and demands of globalization.

The forum discussed three key demand structures that are changing how countries in Asia view education as a driver of economic growth, social progress, and sustainable development:

  • Economy: What educational changes will be required in Asia to develop and retain a globally competent and competitive workforce in the global economy?
  • Society: As urbanization, migration, and immigration increase on a global scale, how can Asian education systems prepare the next generation to actively participate in increasingly diverse and complex societies?
  • Sustainability: How can education in Asia contribute to building a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that spurs sustainable development? 

About the Center for Global Education

Asia Society's Center for Global Education brings together leaders and institutions from around the world to tackle one of the most critical education challenges today: how to educate all students for employability and citizenship in a global era.

In today’s interconnected world, the ability to appreciate diverse cultures, analyze complex international issues, and understand foreign languages is essential. A future of peace and prosperity depends on ensuring a high-quality 21st century education for the next generation.