Speech at Hong Kong Trade Development Council Education & Careers Expo 2017
Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Education & Careers Expo 2017
Ms FONG (Executive Director, TDC), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! It is my pleasure to join you all today at the opening of this year's Education and Careers Expo organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our friends from around the world who join us today.
This is the 27th time that HKTDC organises this annual Expo, which has no doubt established itself as a premier event in providing our students and job seekers alike with comprehensive and latest information on further studies, training and career openings under one roof. The purpose of this Education and Careers Expo also echoes with our Government policy of providing diversified and flexible pathways with multiple entry and exit points for our secondary school leavers.
With the provision of multiple pathways for secondary school leavers, senior secondary schooling denotes a key transition stage from school to post-secondary education. The Chief Executive announced in his Policy Address 2014, 2015 and 2016 to provide stronger support to schools to implement life planning education to better prepare students and to make the best of the opportunities ahead in accordance with their interests, abilities and orientations.
We are devoted to invest in our youngsters to unleash their potential. Government investment in education ranks the highest among all policy areas – for every 5 dollars we spend, we spend one in education. With a significant increase in local post-secondary education opportunities in the last decade and the Government’s continued commitment, the post-secondary education participation rate in Hong Kong has now reached 70% for our youngsters.
Not only do we invest in providing more education opportunities, but we also attach importance to raising the quality and performance of our students. The Education Bureau’s regular surveys show that local employers are generally satisfied with the work performance of local first degree and sub-degree graduates. Besides, according to the IMD World Talent Ranking, Hong Kong’s ranking has picked up from the 21st place in 2014 to the 10th position last year. A number of our universities also performed well in global employability rankings, for example, three Hong Kong universities are ranked in the top 100 in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology which gained the 13th place. These are encouraging indications that our graduates are recognised both locally and internationally.
That said, our investment in education will continue to grow as we roll out a number of new initiatives benefitting our students, for instance, –
(a) The Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme will continue to support up to 100 outstanding local students in their pursuit of studies in world renowned universities outside Hong Kong in the 2017/18 academic year. Priority will be given to programmes conducive to boosting Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness, in particular disciplines related to innovation and technology; and
(b) We also launched the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors in the 2015/16 academic year to subsidise students to pursue selected local self-financing undergraduate programmes that train up talent for industries with keen manpower demand. I am happy to share with you that the scheme will be regularised starting from the 2018/19 academic year with an increased number of subsidised places from about 1 000 per cohort to 3 000. Together with on-going students of the designated programmes, we expect that a total of about 13 000 students will benefit from the scheme in each academic year.
Moreover, we will continue to facilitate the development of Hong Kong as a regional education hub that attracts and retains non-local talents by measures such as relaxing employment and immigration restrictions for non-local students, and launching a PhD Fellowship Scheme.
It is also our on-going endeavour to attract gifted students from the Belt and Road countries to study in Hong Kong. Apart from 10 additional offers of scholarship for students from Indonesia under the Targeted Scholarship Scheme starting from this academic year, thanks to private donations we will be able to provide scholarships to students from Malaysia and Thailand to study in Hong Kong starting from the next academic year. This Belt and Road initiative will help strengthen the bond between Hong Kong students and their peers in the Belt and Road region, foster the exchange of ideas and sharing of cultural heritage.
Ladies and gentlemen, to prepare our young people to meet future challenges and opportunities, we need to tap on the efforts of all stakeholders, including the business sector to provide training and internship opportunities for our young people so that they could also learn and grow in real job settings. This year, we launched a large-scale “Work Experience Movement” under the Business-School Partnership Programme to give students with an early sense of the world of work. We are happy to have gained the enthusiastic support from more than 200 business enterprises / organisations joining the movement offering two to three days of work experience programmes for our secondary students. Up to now, more than 1 100 places, covering about 30 business fields, have been offered to students and more opportunities are expected in the coming quarters, especially during the summer holidays. As we have many employers joining this event, I appeal for the continuous support from all of you in this regard.
Education defines the qualities of our society and contributes to our position as Asia’s World City. Through the collective effort of the Government, institutions and the business sector, I hope our youngsters are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and exposure to compete in today’s global arena. And I believe it is with such a goal that events like the Education and Careers Expo continue to flourish. May I wish every success to the event and you all a fruitful year ahead. Thank you.