Dual doctorate offers international perspective on Policy Studies in Education

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Many of education’s core values and practices will surely never diminish in importance. However, there is a clear need to adapt the content, delivery modes, as well as the administration, of academic programmes at all levels, to better prepare today’s students to face the challenges of an uncertain future. In this future, it is still unclear which new forms of employment will be created by digital technology (and which old ones will be destroyed), and how the world’s critical climatic, demographic and other problems, can be tackled or ameliorated. But at a moment in history when it is more important than ever to promote communication and the exchange of ideas across international borders, there is a worrying trend in many parts of the world to take a more nationalistic approach to higher education.

That is what makes the launch, in September of this year, of a Dual Doctor Degree of Policy Studies (Education Policy and Management) and PhD of Education Policy/Administration, by the School of Graduate Studies at Lingnan University (Hong Kong) and the College of Education at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, particularly timely.

Lingnan University already offers a Doctor of Policy Studies programme, the first of its kind in the Greater China region. This tackles a broader range of social issues – housing, education, ageing, health, welfare, and poverty – which concern Hong Kong and all other major cities in the world. But the new dual degree will focus on education management and policy, and enable the two universities to build on their track record of cooperation and leverage off each other’s complementary strengths. While Lingnan is a regional leader in the liberal arts, with collaborative relationships with universities around the world, the College of Education at National Chengchi University has established a strong reputation for expertise in areas such as quality assurance in higher education.

The selection of courses and projects in the four-year programme will be customized to each student’s individual goals and they will also have the opportunity to gain a broader international perspective. “We want to enhance the students’ learning experience, and we think the dual degree will be a very good platform for enhancing their comparative and international perspectives when analyzing policy issues in education,” explains Professor Maggie Lau, Programme Leader of Doctor of Policy Studies offered by Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

The new dual doctorate aims, primarily, to attract three categories of applicants: those who want to focus on research into education management and policy; current education administrators in schools and universities, who wish to deepen their understanding of the developments in this field in preparation for promotion; and those coming from other areas who wish to launch new careers in education administration, or with relevant NGOs or government departments.

Those students mainly interested in research will have the choice of a number of ongoing projects to engage with. One, very large study, being run in conjunction with the University of Oxford, is looking at the career expectations and the career status of Chinese students returning to the Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan from universities in the UK.