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How well-funded polytechnic universities can lead the way in innovation and tech

HONG KONG, People’s Republic of China — Polytechnic universities have been described as unsung heroes in countries' higher education landscapes, especially for countries with unstable job markets and increasing unemployment.

Through its name alone, polytechnic institutes combine the in-depth academic study found at traditional universities with practical, technology-based skills training. Learning at polytechnic schools often depends on internships and industry exposure, opening doors for employment early into a fresh graduate’s career.

In the Asia-Pacific region, about 500 million workers are either jobless or looking for more work, according to conservative estimates. Prices of basic goods in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region have been forcing workers to look for additional income on top of their regular 40-hour work week.

In the Philippines, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) has been described as a "backbone of the Philippine economy" by its president as part of a campaign to grant PUP institutional and fiscal autonomy.

While PUP’s administration has been hoping to get an autonomous status to enjoy whopping increases in its annual budget, the Philippines’ Commission on Higher Education is not yet entirely convinced of the need to tag PUP as a national university.

Like any school, funding can make or break the quality of education. For polytechnic schools, a bigger budget means greater facilities for skills training. 

What does a well-funded polytechnic institute look like in other countries?

At Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University — the largest government-funded university in Hong Kong and one of the largest and densest campuses in the world — the availability of virtual reality technology allows its health-allied students to experience a hospital setting on campus.

For instance, radiography students at Hong Kong's Polytechnic University (HKPU) have access to a six-sided three-dimensional room called the Hybrid Immersive Virtual Environment (HIVE), which brings students to a realistic hospital setting where they can practice and refine their skills in a safe and immersive environment. 

Students who don’t have a regular chance to go