Teaching and learning in Hong Kong higher education

Ka Ho MOK, Weiyan XIONG

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


In Hong Kong higher education, students' learning outcomes are increasingly treated as evidence to inform course and teaching improvement. Therefore, outcome-based teaching and learning (OBTL) has been encouraged by the University Grants Committee (UGC) since 2007. OBTL has gradually been implemented by Hong Kong higher education institutions (HEIs) to enhance student learning outcomes. Relating OBTL to the social cohesion/regulation matrix, this chapter aims at analyzing how OBTL is being implemented by the HEIs in Hong Kong. Given the high institutional autonomy and academic freedom afforded to individual HEIs, each university has established its own systematic framework for integrating outcome-based approaches into its teaching, learning, and assessment. Unlike other higher education systems in Asia with strong government supervision, the government in Hong Kong acts as an enabler and facilitator, leaving the UGC to invite international experts as an independent audit body to assure the quality of student learning. As a result, this chapter chooses the eight UGC-funded universities to investigate how they engage their faculty members in OBTL, and what the enabling and hindering factors are. Based upon the social cohesion/regulation matrix, the Hong Kong higher education system is featured by the individualist way of promoting OBTL. Nonetheless, while universities are empowered with institutional autonomy to decide upon teaching, and student learning matters, their strong orientation with OBTL means they cannot simply do whatever they like. Adopting a robust quality assurance mechanism in evaluating university performance through University Accountability Agreements, the institutional autonomy that universities enjoy rests heavily upon their performance in teaching and student learning, which is assessed through rigorous international benchmarking via the Quality Assurance Audit conducted by the UGC and research performance through the Research Assessment Exercise. This chapter discusses the unique university governance of Hong Kong through the critical review of OBTL being adopted in teaching and learning in Hong Kong universities. Copyright © 2022 Ka Ho Mok and Weiyan Xiong. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emerald handbook of evidence-informed practice in education: Learning from international contexts
EditorsChris BROWN, Joel R. MALIN
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISBN (Electronic)9781800431416
ISBN (Print)9781800431423
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Mok, K. H., & Xiong, W. (2022). Teaching and learning in Hong Kong higher education. In C. Brown & J. R. Malin (Eds.), The Emerald handbook of evidence-informed practice in education: Learning from international contexts (pp. 275-289). Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-141-620221031


  • Outcome-based teaching and learning
  • Hong Kong quality higher education
  • Evidence-informed practices
  • Institutional autonomy
  • Higher education accountability
  • University accountability agreements


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