Speech at the 35th Anniversary Open Day of Hong Kong Chinese Women’s Club College
25 April 2014 (Friday)
35th Anniversary Open Day of
Hong Kong Chinese Women’s Club College
Speech by Secretary for Education
Mrs LAU (School Supervisor), Mr WONG (School Principal), Distinguished Guests, Parents, Teachers and Students,
It is a great pleasure for me to join you all today.
I always enjoy attending schools’ open days because they celebrate the success of the schools and students. It’s true that parents can study a school’s brochure sent to them or visit the school’s website. But no matter how good these resources are, you can’t experience the atmosphere of the school remotely. You have to visit the school in person.
In fact, when I walk around the campus today, I have a real sense of what makes this school so successful in achieving its mission of serving the community by cultivating high caliber youths through the delivery of quality education, and most importantly its sincerity to promote lifelong learning for the betterment of our society.
This year the school is celebrating its 35th anniversary with the theme: “35 years of dedication to inspire lifelong learning”. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, once said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Lifelong learning encompasses learning at all ages and includes formal, non-formal and informal learning. It enhances not only social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also competitiveness and employability.
Lifelong learning and career development are always closely connected. Nowadays, many countries implement lifelong learning strategies in order to equip individuals with the skills required in today’s workforce, to permit career development and to reduce skills mismatches and labour market bottlenecks. Given today’s world of work is much different from yesterday’s, students need to understand that lifelong learning is required not only in academic pursuit but also career development.
The Government is committed to providing quality, flexible and diversified study pathways with multiple entry and exit points for the young people. As announced in the 2014 Policy Address, we will implement measures to strengthen life planning education and career guidance services in secondary schools with a view to further supporting schools to help their students make informed choices for further studies and future career during their secondary schooling, and ultimately connect their aspirations with lifelong learning.
I believe that lifelong learning is the best approach to be successful in life or in anything that you want to pursue. In today’s fast paced world, if you don’t keep learning, you’re falling behind. Here, I would like to share with you three important traits possessed by the lifelong learners.
First, lifelong learners are curious. They like to wonder about things, how they come to be, and how they work. They enjoy asking insightful and productive questions. Nowadays, some young people are just too shy or afraid to ask questions, not knowing that questions could help them understand more about what they know and what they have yet to learn.
Second, lifelong learners are courageous. They are willing to take risks, and to try something they are not yet sure how to do. Nowadays, many parents feel the need to protect their children from setbacks and failure. In fact, learning takes place when we are willing to risk failure. Like Aristotle said, “Learning is not child’s play; we cannot learn without pain.”
Third, lifelong learners are disciplined. They know the value of target-setting. They create goals, deadlines and plans that support their own learning. They fully understand that a disciplined and planned system of study is vital especially for the stretching of minds and for the exposure to new ideas and skills.
Lifelong learning is a keystone of educational policies where the emphasis on learning shifts from teachers to students. I am pleased to see that this school has committed to inspiring our students to be lifelong learners in our changing world. I am also impressed with the effort that the school has made to realize its motto: to empower students with the knowledge and perseverance in making the life changes that they view as essential.
In closing, I congratulate all stakeholders of this school for their effort in nurturing the students from its formative years to its present state, and I also wish all of you to continue your journey on lifelong learning to make Hong Kong a better place tomorrow.