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Title: Policy convergence and policy borrowing: What are the implications for Hong Kong's qualifications framework?
Author: Ip, Kwai Po Catherine
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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Many research findings show that the convergence of education reform policies over the world is part of the globalisation process and the result of policy borrowing. At present, more than 100 countries are now involved in some way in designing or implementing qualifications frameworks (QF). The Hong Kong government is no exception. The Hong Kong QF was officially implemented on 5 May 2008 after years of preparation. Among many policy instruments to reform the education and training sectors, why did the Hong Kong government converge with other governments to adopt QF? The literature suggests that policy borrowing is a strong reason to explain this convergence phenomenon. The repOli of a study in 16 countries commissioned by the Skills and Employability Department of the International Labour Office (ILO) says, "policy borrowing emerged as a strong reason why NQFs [national qualifications frameworks] are being introduced, as well as playing a significant role in how they are being developed" (International Labor Office, October 2010:3). Policy borrowing has been a useful lens to understand the phenomenon of policy convergence as Green (1999: 56) suggests that "three principal ways in 11 which convergence may occur. One is through an increase in policy borrowing, an instance of the wider process of cultural diffusion". The significance of this research topic is aptly pointed out in the ILO report: The focus on NQFs is important because some 100 countries are now involved in some way in designing or implementing qualifications frameworks .... Despite the growing international interest, there is very little empirical research about the actual design process, implementation and results ofNQFs in the labour market (International Labor Office, October 2010 :iii). Owing to my work at the then Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (now the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications), I have the opportunity to observe the inception of an QF idea and the translation of it into practice in Hong Kong. I was also involved in the preparatory work for developing the quality assurance mechanism which underpins the Hong Kong QF. Against this background, it is of great interest for me to choose QF as my research topic to understand why many governments in general, and the Hong Kong government in pmiicular, adopt QF despite there being little evidence of its success. The popularity ofNQFs suggests an apparent convergence in education policies around the world. My research problem is - why the Hong Kong government implements QF despite there being little evidence of its success. This will be done by looking through the lenses of policy 111 convergence and policy borrowing. These inter-related lenses together with the global circulated discourses on lifelong learning and the knowledge economy provide the theoretical framework of this study. This research is a case study of why QF is adopted in Hong Kong. The following questions have guided this study: 1. What are the main features of the Hong Kong QF? 2. What impact do the global circulated discourses on lifelong learning and the knowledge economy have on the adoption of QF in Hong Kong? 3. To what extent is the adopting of Q F in Hong Kong pmi of the trend of education policy convergence? 4. To what extent is the adoption of QF in Hong Kong the result of policy borrowing? Analysis of policy documents and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders were used to address these research questions. The contribution of this thesis is on two fronts. Firstly, this study has emiched the QF literature by offering a Hong Kong case study. This contribution is significant because there is a problem with the current QF literature in that it is heavily biased towards the five Anglophone founders (England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) and to the European Union and its efforts in its hinterland. Information on QF development in other countries or regions is scanty. This case study helps fill this gap by shedding some light on why and how QF is developed in other places. IV Secondly, very little has been written about the implementation of the Hong Kong QF since its establishment in May 2008. As an exploratory case study, this study illuminates our understanding on why QF has become an attractive policy instrument in wider education policy processes in Hong Kong through the lenses of policy convergence and policy borrowing. v
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available