The Hong Kong Secondary Education system moved from the traditional “5 + 2 + 3” system to a new “3 + 3 + 4” structure in 2012 with emphasis on whole-person development. Under the new reform, students are required to undertake a block of new general education (GE) subjects apart from their disciplinary-specific education in their university curriculum. While prior studies mainly investigated the reform of GE and curriculum design, empirical studies on the perceived benefits of GE are sparse.
The current study primarily aims to investigate the impact of GE on the generic skills of university students. A survey of 424 undergraduate students enrolled in a self-financing programme in four higher educational institutions in Hong Kong was conducted. The perceived benefits of GE were measured by seven variables, including communication, critical thinking and problem solving, team-work, leadership, lifelong learning and information management skills, ethics, and professional moral knowledge. This study can contribute to the understanding of the interrelationship between GE and the development of generic skills. Results will provide a guideline for educators and management when planning, developing, designing, and reviewing the general education curriculum. [Copyright of Asia Pacific Journal of Education is the property of Routledge.]