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Education

Upscale brand reposition complements expansion plans

by Christy Liu

Danny Ho, centre manager
Raffles International College
Photo: Johnson Poon

Constant innovation and forward-looking strategies key to remaining competitive in the field of education

Hong Kong people are keenly aware of the need for continuous learning and are discerning when it comes to selecting a suitable education provider.

Following plans to expand its portfolio of programmes on offer, Hartford Institute Hong Kong, known for its business and management programmes, has recently announced its decision to change its name to Raffles International College. "Hartford Institute was established in 1999 and listed on the Singapore Exchange as a top education provider for business and management programmes," says Danny Ho, centre manager, Raffles International College. Raffles Education Corporation, a leading creative and design management education group in Asia Pacific, acquired the institute in 2004. However, since it still focused on providing business and management programmes, the institute kept its name.

"In recent years we have recognised the need to meet the diverse needs of our community. Today's learners require education institutes to provide a wider range of programmes. We have therefore renamed the institute Raffles International College."

Mr Ho adds that the expanded college now also offers programmes in information technology, creative arts, psychology and childhood education, in addition to its business and management programmes.

Enhanced quality

Multi-disciplinary education will be one of the institute's focuses, Mr Ho points out. "The change was part of a carefully considered strategy, as we plan to consolidate the strengths and resources of our parent company to benefit students," he adds.

Raffles Education Corporation has institutes in Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Changchun, Changzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Huizhou, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Ningbo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Ulaanbaatar and Wuhan. "The opportunity to share academic resources and knowledge between all the associate colleges will definitely improve our teaching quality and offer students access to a larger volume of resources. We are also in a position to invite lecturers from our associate colleges to give lectures."

The institute values its collaboration with foreign universities in offering undergraduate and post-graduate programmes to Hong Kong people, Mr Ho stresses. "We have partnerships with several overseas universities, including the University of Leicester, University of Surrey, University of Portsmouth and NCC Education in the UK, and the University of Newcastle in Australia.

"Our programmes are closely supervised and student assignments are well monitored to ensure that our graduates' qualifications are globally recognised. This means that there are no barriers for students to pursue further studies at other institutes. Our mission is to provide an unequalled education that serves our students for a lifetime," Mr Ho says. "We will therefore continue to forge partnerships with overseas universities to offer quality master's and doctoral programmes."

Global exposure

In addition to providing academic training, Raffles International College also organises internship programmes that enable students to gain solid work experience before joining the labour market.

The institute's Centre for Professional Department in Shanghai provides students with three to six months' placement opportunities in the region. "Colleagues at the college work with employers in the region to give students opportunities to gain practical knowledge," says Mr Ho.

As part of the institute's global perspective, the education provider is in the process of establishing exchange programmes in a move to broaden students' horizons. "Hong Kong students have traditionally not been that interested in exchange programmes, but we will persist in trying to organise attractive exchange programmes as we believe students can gain valuable international exposure through participating in such programmes," Mr Ho adds. One effort will see Raffles International College students from Guangzhou visiting Hong Kong for a cultural and academic exchange.

As a student-oriented institute, the college places great importance on the quality of its teaching staff. "As we expand, we will need to employ more lecturers to join our team," says Mr Ho. "Hiring will be coordinated by our head office and we are looking forward to more qualified and experienced teachers."


 

Taken from Career Times 25 April 2008

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