02 Jul, 2015
10 : 00
Dr Betty Chan Po-king, Director of Yew Chung International School (YCIS), which is one of the leading international school networks in mainland China and Hong Kong, has been awarded honorary degrees in North America, Asia and now Europe. She is undoubtedly a highly inspirational and innovative Hong Kong educator, who has now amazingly achieved global recognition on three continents.
Following the honours received in the United States and back home in Hong Kong, Dr Chan, who has a keen interest and specialty in early childhood education, has completed what may well be a unique hat-trick of honorary degrees. In early July, she collected her third “continental award” and was presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at the University of Bath, in England.
Honorary degrees are the most prestigious accolade granted by the University of Bath and they are reserved only for “individuals of conspicuous merit”. Links between Dr Chan and the University of Bath arose from the shared interest in international education, and has existed for more than 15 years. The university’s academic staff members of the Department of Education have been keynote speakers at international conferences hosted by Dr Chan in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, and she has supported Yew Chung teachers in studying on the Department of Education’s MA in Education programme. Dr Chan has visited Bath on a number of occasions and maintains an ongoing interest in the joint work. She also strongly supports the Alliance for International Education (AIE) – a worldwide organisation that owes its origins to work undertaken by the Centre for the Study of Education in an International Context at the University of Bath – sharing a commitment to the promotion of international education and intercultural understanding.
Dr Chan was initially honoured for her pioneering work in early childhood education and her consistent advocacy for excellence in all levels of global education back in 2010, when she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in the United States. The YCIS leader was the first Chinese woman to be honoured by UIUC in the field of early childhood education for her pioneering concept of blending Eastern and Western cultures to culminate in a truly international model of education.
Then in March 2014, in recognition of both her recent and long-standing contribution to education, the Hong Kong Institute of Education granted Dr Chan an Honorary Fellowship.
Dr Chan, with prestigious recognition from North America and Asia already earned, has completed a notable treble in global awards when the University of Bath announced its bestowing of their honorary degree in 2015, adding Europe to the already impressive list of continents the awarding institutions belong to.
Dr Chan’s passion helps her pursue her vocation for education. As a specialist in early childhood education, Dr Chan is a founding member of the Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA). In 2006 she established PECERA’s Hong Kong chapter, for which she serves as President, and since 2012 she has also been President of PECERA International. Also in Hong Kong, she was a member of the Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) and a member of the Appeals Board (Education). In recent years, she launched Yew Chung Community College, which provides early childhood teacher training in Hong Kong.
Dr Chan is recognised as an innovative leader who drives educational excellence and is also acknowledged for her advocacy of and contribution to the best practices of both the East and the West in education through Yew Chung International Schools, her government positions, and international conferences she has organised. She has been lauded for her vision of helping to build a generation of future leaders who understand both the Eastern and Western cultures.
Since assuming the leadership of the Yew Chung, founded by her mother Madam Tsang Chor-hang more than 80 years ago, Dr Chan has developed Yew Chung schools in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Qingdao and Silicon Valley in the US.