Monday, January 29, 2007

Shocking !

According to a study conducted by an Australian scholar at Monash reported in today's edition of SCMP,

"More than two in four Hong Kong Chinese students granted permanent residency in Australia after graduating from its universities last year did not have competent English language skills, research released yesterday shows."

This is not surprising as a lot of people in HK have lamented at the declining English standard of university graduates before. What is really shocking is this bit:

"Data collated from immigration tests carried out when the graduates applied for permanent residency visas showed 42.9 per cent of the Hong Kong students failed the language competency tests, only slightly better than the 43.2 per cent from the mainland who failed it."

The rate of improvement in Chinese students' language ability is really amazing. One has to remember that presumably English is taught at school only after reform started in 1978. Funny thing is HK is trying very hard to position itself as China's premier international financial center, but how they are going to do this with waning English ability?

Read the whole story here. Of course, Monash is also the institution where my good friend Stephen Miller teaches. And you can read Steve's latest work on how investors can hedge against country risks with financial assets here. BTW, Steve is a big fan of Fischer Black.

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