Collaboration in Higher Education Sector in Singapore and Hong Kong: A Perspective from Policy Learning

Chenlan SHU

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


The collaboration between higher education institutions (HEls) is significant under globalization, since the approach develops the quality of higher education in both host and partner universities (Chapman and Sarvi, 2017). The cooperation is conducted in multiple forms, such as research collaboration and establishing branches in alternative regions. Policies in Singapore and Hong Kong, two global cities in Asia, echo the international higher education collaboration on either building up campuses of foreign universities or building campuses of domestic universities in nearby regions. It is noteworthy that both regions show high quality of higher education, of which two universities in Singapore ranked on the top fifty and five institutions in Hong Kong positioned on the top one hundred on Times Ranking in 2024 (Times Higher Education, 2024).

Aiming to provide an inclusive learning experience, the Global Schoolhouse Initiative in Singapore has attracted universities in the United States, such as NYU Tisch School of Arts, and eighteen HEls from Australia to establish a campus in Singapore (Ministry of Trade and Industry 2002; Australian High Commission Singapore). Nevertheless, the policy failed to a certain extent. Osada (2015) and Tan (2015) highlighted that the overseas HEls in Singapore experienced challenges on quality assurance, the influence of the anti-immigration policy on the dropping number of international students, and the closure of several programmes and campuses from foreign universities since 2005. Such failure challenges the performance of the Policy.

Rather than attracting foreign universities to the nation-state, Hong Kong enhanced the collaboration by encouraging institutions in UGC to set up campuses in the Great Bay Area, such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen. The governments of Hong Kong and China, it is noteworthy that, have signed the Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme, which resulted in the introduction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cooperation Framework Agreement at a later stage (PGGP, 2010). Nevertheless, there is a lack of examination of the policy performance, challenging the policy evaluation. The "come-in" approach in Singapore and the "going-out" strategy in Hong Kong advise opposite policy designs, leading to further policy evaluation of the performance, effectiveness, and efficiency in both regions.

Although much investigation has compared the higher education cooperation between Singapore and Hong Kong (Mok, 2013; Lo, 2017), limited research has examined the improvement of policy on cooperation between HEls in both regions and reviewed the higher education collaboration on the ground of policy learning, particularly on branch campuses formation. Policy learning, as an important framework for evaluating policy, aims to address the questions of who learns, learns what, and with what effect to improve policy outcomes and solutions (Bennett & Howlett, 1992; Feldman, 2018; Oliver and Pearce, 2017). Based on the comparative policy analysis of the cases of Singapore and Hong Kong, this research has two objectives. Firstly, it aims to identify the reasons for designing the "come-in" and "going-out" policies and explores if the policy can be adoptable in the other region. Secondly, the investigation aims to examine what policies in both regions can learn from each other to enhance international collaboration in the higher education sector.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes
EventConference for Higher Education Research (CHER) – Hong Kong 2023: Education for Sustainability: Navigating the Changing Landscape of Higher Education - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 17 Nov 202318 Nov 2023


ConferenceConference for Higher Education Research (CHER) – Hong Kong 2023: Education for Sustainability: Navigating the Changing Landscape of Higher Education
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
OtherThe impact of ChatGPT is being felt across higher education globally, but it represents just one of the emerging research directions in this field. The landscape of higher education has been evolving constantly, with practitioners encountering a diverse range of challenges and opportunities. In order to establish a sustainable higher education environment that can keep pace with society's advancements, it is crucial to facilitate collaboration between universities and institutional leaders to exchange best practices, develop innovative curricula and pedagogy that accommodate changes in technology, ensure that access to learning is equitable and society's advancements does not exacerbate educational disparities, and address the emotional and social needs of students in response to the evolving landscape of higher education.
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