Social work education in Hong Kong at the crossroads : challenges and opportunities amidst marketization and managerialism

Woon Ki Angelina Yuen Tsang, Kwok Leung Denny Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Social work education in Hong Kong has undergone unprecedented transitions during the past decade as a result of the challenges presented by the global tides of marketization and managerialism. It has been suggested that these changes have not only negatively affected the quality of education, but have also given rise to rising consumerism as well as intense institutional competition, and, worst of all, have diluted the sense of purpose and commitment of social workers towards their social ideals. But despite the many cautions raised, the advent of marketization and managerialism has provided many positive opportunities for the development of social work education in Hong Kong. The authors will use some of their experiences encountered in Hong Kong as illustrations to show the ways in which threats and crises in social work education could be turned into positive opportunities for development. From a positive perspective, marketization and managerialism could increase opportunities and choices for motivated learners; increase efficiency and enhance performance; generate additional resources for experimentation and innovation; and revitalize social work education by making the curricula more responsive to contemporary issues and needs. We suggest that while we must be cautious about the negative impacts of marketization and managerialism, we should conceive of this situation as an opportunity to strengthen the organizational capacities of social work education, to revitalize the core values of social work, and to strive for social justice and social betterment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-559
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Social Work Education
  • Higher Education Reform
  • Managerialism
  • Marketization
  • Globalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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