Paul Morris (1951 - )

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Born in Bristol in 1951, Paul Morris is currently a Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Prior to this he was President of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd).

From 1976 to 2000 Morris held posts from lecturer to Chair Professor at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). During this time he was actively involved in educational administration and policy-making at various levels - in particular as Dean of the Faculty of Education for six years and through his service on the Education Commission.

In both roles he initiated proposals that have allowed the Hong Kong education system to better provide for the needs of the community. At HKU he launched undergraduate programmes for serving teachers and the In-Service Teacher Education Programme. His period at the Commission saw a number of significant educational reforms including the creation of the Curriculum Development Institute; disestablishment of the Colleges of Education and establishment of the Institute of Education; the introduction of graduate posts in primary schools, and the move towards whole day primary schooling.

Morris contributed to improving the quality of teaching and learning in Hong Kong schools through the dissemination of relevant research and by collaborating with practitioners. This was done via: a series of practical guides designed to help teachers improve and extend their teaching methods; a very popular range of school textbooks and other classroom resources; and extensive involvement with the wider professional community. Over a period of 25 years at HKU he supervised 13 successful doctorates and over 100 MEd. dissertations. He has extensive experience in initiating projects and leading large collaborative teams in highly productive research.

From August 2000 his task was to upgrade the HKIEd from a post-secondary college offering mostly sub-degree course to a full university level institution. This task had to be achieved with a staffing profile with a very limited culture of scholarship and a massive cutback in resources due to perceived changes in demographics. He led two major staff redundancy exercises; multiple external programme validations; a very successful Teaching and Learning Quality Process Review exercise; an institutional review; a Research Assessment Exercise; and a major academic restructuring, which involved moving from four Schools with 14 Departments to two Faculties with nine Departments. As a result of all these processes and changes by 2007 HKIEd had self-accrediting status; nearly 80% of academic staff with doctorates; an RAE research index that had increased three times; and recognition by schools as the preferred teacher education provider in Hong Kong. The number of self-financed and non-local students had increased by factors of 10 and 6 respectively.

His scholarship has focussed on the analysis and evaluation of aspects of education in both HK and East Asia. He has published a substantial body of work that has analysed the influences on and changes to both the school curriculum generally and approaches to civic education specifically, especially in response to the change in HK's sovereignty. His corpus of work has used a critical interdisciplinary perspective that has demonstrated the changing connections between the socio-political domain and the school curriculum in HK, especially with regard to HK's political transition. His evaluation studies, most notably of the Target Oriented Curriculum for primary schools and the Civic Education Guidelines for secondary schools have highlighted the reasons for the disjuncture between policy intentions and classroom practice, and the unintended impact of innovations on schools and classrooms. His more recent work on HK has also critically analysed the changing nature of educational policy making processes and the impact of reforms in schools. His comparative work on East Asian societies has contributed to our understanding of the nuanced socio-political role education has played in supporting the rapid economic development of the East Asian 'tigers', the tensions affecting systems of teacher education, and the different nature of civic education in schools.

In 2006 it was alleged that Morris was pressured by a Government Minister to curb the activities of HKIEd staff members who were critical of government policy, and the Secretary for Education and Manpower (SEM) to merge the HKIEd with the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2007 a Commission of Inquiry - appointed by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong - was established to investigate these allegations. The allegation of the Government Minister attempting to infringe the academic autonomy of staff of the HKIEd was proven and the official immediately resigned. Subsequently the SEM was not reappointed to his post.

Educational Background

Certificate in Education (Economics), Trinity & All Saints College, Leeds, UK (1972)

Bachelor of Education (Hons) (Economics), University of Leeds, UK (1973)

MSc. (Sociology of Education) Polytechnic of the South Bank, London, UK (1976)

D.Phil. (Thesis on Curriculum Development and Implementation), University of Sussex, UK (1982)

Doctor of Civil Law (Honorary Degree), University of East Anglia, UK (2007)

Professional Background

Teacher of Economics at secondary school and college of technology level in UK (1973-76)

Lecturer, Department of Education, University of Hong Kong (1976-84)

Senior Lecturer, Department of Curriculum Studies, University of Hong Kong (1984-1992)

Elected Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong (1986-1992)

Reader, Department of Curriculum Studies, University of Hong Kong (1992-1996)

Chair Professor, Department of Curriculum Studies, University of Hong Kong (1996-2000)

Deputy Director (Academic), Hong Kong Institute of Education (2000-2002)

Director/President, Hong Kong Institute of Education (2002-2007)

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

Member of the Education Commission (Hong Kong)(1988-1993)

Member of the Editorial Panel of the Cambridge Journal of Education (UK)

Member of the Editorial Board of Curriculum Perspectives (Australia)

Member of the International Advisory Board of the Research Papers in Education (UK)

Associate Editor of the Journal of Education for Teaching (UK)

Selected Publications

Morris, P. (1988): 'The effect on the school curriculum of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997'. Journal of Curriculum Studies, Vol. 20, No. 6 pp. 509 520

Marsh, C. & Morris, P. (Eds) (1991): Curriculum Development in East Asia. London: Falmer Press.

Morris, P. & Sweeting, A.E. (Eds) (1995): Education and Development in East Asia. New York: Garland Publishing.

Morris, P. (1996): 'Asia's four little tigers: a comparison of the role of education in their development'. Comparative Education, Vol. 32, No.1. pp. 95-109.

Morris, P. (1997): 'School knowledge, the state and the market: an analysis of the Hong Kong secondary school curriculum'. Journal of Curriculum Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 329-349.

Morris, P. & Adamson, B. (1997): 'The English curriculum in the People's Republic of China' Comparative Education Review Vol. 41, No.1 pp. 3-26.

Morris, P., McClelland, J. & Wong, P.M. (1997): 'Explaining curriculum change: the case of Social Studies in Hong Kong, 1975-1997'Comparative Education Review, Vol. 41 No.1 pp. 27-43

Morris, P. & Williamson, J. (Eds) (2000): Teacher Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Systems, Tensions and Prospects. New York: Garland Publishing.

Morris, P. (2002): 'Promoting Curriculum Reforms in the Context of a Political Transition: an Analysis of Hong Kong's Experience'Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 17, No. 1 pp. 13-28.

Cogan, J., Morris, P. & Print, M. (Eds) (2002): Civic Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Case Studies across Six Societies. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Morris, P. & Lo Mun Ling (2002): 'Shaping the Curriculum in Hong Kong. In A. Walker & C. Dimmock (Eds.) School Leadership and Administration: Adopting a Cultural Perspective, New York: Routledge Falmer, pp. 141-155

Morris, P. & Scott, I. (2003): 'Educational Reform and Policy Implementation in Hong Kong'. Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 18, No. 1 pp. 71-84.

Morris, P. (2004): 'Teaching in Hong Kong, Professionalization, Accountability and the State'. Research Papers in Education, Vol. 19, No. 1 pp. 105-121

Morris, P. & Adamson, B. (2007): 'Comparing Curricula'. In M. Bray, B. Adamson & M. Mason (Eds.) Comparative Education Research: Approaches and Methods, Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong, pp.263-282 ?p> Morris, P. (2007): 'Teacher Professionalism and Teacher Education in Hong Kong'. In D. Johnson and R. Maclean (Eds.) Teaching: Professionalism, Development and Leadership , UK: Springer (forthcoming).


Created: 3/17/2008

Updated: 3/17/2008

Contributed By: Angella Little, Institute of Education, University of London