Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the JA Company Programme Trade Fair 2010/11
18 December 2010 (Saturday)
The Opening Ceremony
of the JA Company Programme Trade Fair 2010/11
Opening Address by Mrs Cherry Tse,
Permanent Secretary for Education (Designate)
Mr McCombe, Mrs Leung, Distinguished Guests and Fellow Students,
I feel privileged to be invited to witness the Opening of the Junior Achievement Company Programme Trade Fair.
Hong Kong prides itself to be an international business hub. Our continued economic vibrancy hinges on one thing – human resources.
Over the years, despite our economic vicissitudes, education spending has been on the rise, reflecting the importance the community and the Government attach to education. Not only have per student spendings in primary and secondary schools been increased, curriculum has also been diversified and the participation rate in post-secondary education has likewise been enhanced.
However, these alone will not suffice to enable Hong Kong and our younger generation to embrace the challenges at our doorstep. Technological advances, knowledge discoveries and business innovation now occur at a lightning speed. Managing changes, assessing risks in uncertainties and making decisions in dilemma situations are everyday business realities. While schools and universities help assure us of a younger generation honed in basic literacy, numerical skills and professional knowledge, they will not be able to provide an authentic environment for students to appreciate the stark realities of the business world.
The Junior Achievement Company Programme helps meet this need. Business leaders are living examples of entrepreneurial spirit, resilience, diligence and adaptability – which are among the very qualities that we wish to inculcate in our students through the New Senior Secondary Curriculum. I am sure that students find the experience sharing by business leaders inspiring. In addition, the Trade Fair gives students a foretaste of the fun and anxieties of running a business. Through participating in the HK Junior Achievement Programme, students can, therefore, kill two birds with one stone. They are able to develop their career-related experience, one of the core areas of “Other Learning Experiences (OLE)” under the New Senior Secondary Curriculum. Furthermore, having experienced, though on a miniature scale, the difficulties of running a business, students should become more appreciative of the qualities that their prospective employers and the Hong Kong community expect of them.
The JA Company Programme is the largest youth entrepreneurial education programme in Hong Kong. Mr. McCombe, Mrs. Leung and JA business volunteers, I salute your strong sense of social responsibility. As leaders of enterprises facing keen competition on a global scale, you must be subject to demands from many fronts. Yet, you stay extremely committed to the JA and to nurturing the younger generation. My gratitude also goes to the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited which sponsors this meaningful programme and provides the venue for the Trade Fair. To be able to show their work in Hong Kong’s central business district will certainly make the experience a memorable one for the participants. The Trade Fair will, I am sure, be a resounding success.
On behalf of our students, I would like to express my deep appreciation to Junior Achievement Hong Kong, the business volunteers and the linked teachers. Taking this opportunity, may I also wish you all a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Successful Year Ahead.