Cultural literacy and student engagement: The case of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Hong Kong

King Fai Sammy HUI, Hoi Yan CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is often seen to be constraining and focused on specific skill development for specific occupations. This goal is at odds with the demands of a knowledge economy that requires more general educational outcomes for an uncertain and unpredictable labour market. For this reason, Hui (2012) has adopted a broader definition of student learning outcomes and assessed the extent to which ‘cultural literacy’ might be a preferred goal for TVET to supplement the skills training element. Cultural literacy refers to an individual’s world view, ways to interact with people, character, personal ethics, values and style. Hui’s study highlighted the need for TVET to emphasise the development of these generic outcomes, students’ comprehensive attitudes and personal qualities in particular. To achieve greater control over the quality of outcomes, this study aims to investigate the influence of students’ participation in institutional activities on their growth. Through modifying the well-known National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), this study examines the relationship between the five benchmarks of effective educational practice and students’ cultural literacy and their self-reported academic performance. Results of a survey study of 238 Hong Kong TVET students indicated that some of the benchmarks could predict to a strong and moderate degree these two important outcomes. It is argued that proper planning and facilitation of educationally purposive activities could enhance both their learning and development. This article will contribute to the discussion on how to advance TVET students’ learning performance. Copyright © 2015 Behalf of UCU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-578
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number4
Early online dateAug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


technical education
vocational education
Vocational Education
Hong Kong
learning performance
knowledge economy
educational practice
labor market
moral philosophy


Hui, S. K. F., & Cheung, H. Y. (2015). Cultural literacy and student engagement: The case of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Hong Kong. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39(4), 553-578.


  • Technical and vocational education and training (TVET)
  • Student engagement
  • Hong Kong
  • Cultural literacy
  • Outcomes of learning