Exchange and
Collaboration Policy
between Hong Kong
and Shenzhen Schools: Obstacles, Enabling Conditions and Policy Recommendations

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Principal Investigators
Dr Qian Haiyan
Associate Professor
and Director of APCLC, EdUHK

Professor Allan Walker
Research Chair Professor
of Int'l Educational Leadership
Co-Director of APCLC, EdUHK
Professor Ke Zheng
Professor and Associate Dean
Faculty of Education
East China Normal University
Senior Research Fellow

Professor Zhao Mingren Professor and Director
Research Centre of GBA Education
Shenzhen University
Senior Research Fellow

Mr Gang Su
Associate Counselor
Shenzhen Education Bureau

Professor James Spillane Spencer T. and Ann W Ollin Professor School of Education, Northwestern University
Senior Research Fellow

Dr Darren Bryant
Associate Professor
and Head of EPL
Associate Director of APCLC, EdUHK

Dr Lu Jiafang
Associate Professor and Assocate Head of EPL Associate Director of APCLC, EdUHK

Dr James Ko
Associate Professor of EPL
Associate Director of APCLC, EdUHK

Dr Chen Junjun
Associate Professor of EPL Research Co-ordinator of APCLC, EdUHK

Dr Ewan Wright
Assistant Professor of EPL Research Fellow of APCLC, EdUHK

Mr Daniel Chan Wing Kwong
Principal, PLK Laws Foundation College and
EdUHK Presidential Advisory Group Member

Ms Leona Lam Wai Ling
Founding Principal, Tai Po Old Market Public School (Plover Cove) and
EdUHK Presidential Advisory Group member

Dr Maggie Koong May-kay
Chief Principal, Causeway Bay Victoria Kindergarten and Victoria (China) Education Group, and the Co-Founder and Head of Academy, Victoria Shanghai Academy

Dr Halina Poon Suk-han
Principal, Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School
and Former Chair of Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council

Mr Franky Poon Kai Cheung
Principal, HKRSS Tai Po Secondary School and COTAP Member

Funding Source


EdUHK aims to strengthen its GBA position and influence to promote a stronger two-way understanding of education developments in Hong Kong and Mainland China both for policy makers and schools themselves. It therefore seeks worthwhile partnerships which can inform policy and benefit school leaders and groups of schools across the GBA. As Hong Kong’s premier education provider, EdUHK has considerable potential to initiate and contribute to policy and school improvement projects in the area and nurture greater mutual understanding between systems. This study proposes to support these intentions.

The primary aim of this study is to investigate the status quo of exchange and collaboration structures across schools in GBA and collect insights and recommendations from key stakeholders about how to grow and enhance successful cross-school partnerships, particularly between Hong Kong and Shenzhen schools. It is designed essentially as a policy study that will provide evidence-informed policy recommendations and bottom-up improvement strategies worthy of scaling up. Evidence and data collected through the project will be analysed and used as a policy, theoretical and empirical foundation for a large-scale research project focusing on building a symbiotic school improvement and leadership model in GBA.


The study has five objectives:
To build a foundational understanding of the status quo of exchange and collaborative activities across schools in GBA.
To solicit ideas and opinions from key stakeholders in Hong Kong and Shenzhen about the purpose, shape and structure the future school learning partnerships should take. With an emphasis on nurturing cross-school improvement and leadership structures the partnerships can increase cross-system understanding and professionally benefit all parties.
To form a network and working team comprised of a range of influential partners to involve in bids for large-scale research projects based on the findings of this project. Partners include international and Mainland researchers, HKEDB policymakers, Shenzhen Education Bureau officials, and outstanding, connected school principals from both sides of the border. This team will be utilised to intentionally (directly and indirectly) influence the policy making process in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
To construct a platform that gathers scholars, policymakers, and school leaders to exchange their views on initiatives and models needed to promote and actualise real collaboration and networked learning communities between schools and school leaders in GBA.
To synthesise effective strategies based on feedback about how to facilitate integration and collaboration of schools across the border and investigate the structural, political, and school conditions and leadership capacity necessary for cross-border schools to form into a learning community. Based on these findings, a policy report, including recommendations, will be compiled and shared with policymakers. The policy report will include criteria for forming cross-school learning clusters across the GBA clusters, a process for groups to follow, the purpose and aims of the learning clusters, their possible learning foci, required resources, an evaluation framework, principals’ responsibilities, and educational (schools and school system) benefits.

Possible Impact on Policy Agenda

This study may impact policy-making in the following ways:

Awaken public concern about the necessity of bringing cross-border schools into a learning community and boosting the exchange and collaboration of teachers and school leaders across the GBA schools.
Provide policymakers with a set of bottom-up initiatives already implemented in the school sector which are worthy of being scaled up with the government recognition.
Provide policymakers with recommendations for possible future cross-school pathways based on insights and knowledge from key GBA education stakeholders.
Support with a synthesis of the political, structural and school conditions needed for a more symbiotic school improvement model across GBA. These conditions can be designed as top-down reform tools and strategies. Inform the government of the leadership understanding and skills needed to make partnerships work, and inform school-and government-initiated leader development programmes.