Speech by Mrs Fanny Law, GBS, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower
at the Opening Ceremony of the
“Citigroup Financial Education Program”
on Monday, 7 November 2005
Mr Robert Morse, Mr Chan Tze-ching, Distinguished Guests and Students,
The aim of education for the 21st century is to foster the holistic development of students, in order to enable our next generation to enjoy learning, enhance their effectiveness in communication and develop their creativity and sense of commitment. Learning is no longer confined to the classroom. We encourage students to widen their exposure to society and participate in multifarious community services. By integrating textbook knowledge with life experience, students will be able to learn with better understanding and to develop a positive attitude towards life.
In this regard, the Education and Manpower Bureau has spared no effort in promoting the Business and Schools Partnership Programme, in order to give students an opportunity to get a taste of work life and to prepare for their future career. I am glad to know that more than 120 corporations have joined the programme to become our partners. It shows that the commercial and industrial sectors are committed to manpower development and are willing to invest in education.
As one of our outstanding partners, the Citigroup has organized and sponsored a wide range of educational initiatives over the years. Besides courses on personal finance, financial knowledge and banking, the Citigroup also organizes academic seminars on selected topics, provides job placement opportunities and sponsors the Citigroup Young Fellowship Program and the Overseas Exchange Programme. Through these educational initiatives, many secondary/university students have enhanced their knowledge and experience, as well as widened their horizons.
Hong Kong is both an international financial centre and the world’s freest port. In an affluent society filled with a motley variety of commodities, people may easily become indulged in material enjoyment. At the same time, the advance of medical science, complemented by the improvement of living conditions, has extended the human lifespan. As such, it is all the more important for everyone to save up for his/her retirement, and for the younger generation to learn to be financially responsible and literate individuals since childhood.
I am most grateful to the Citigroup for the production of two books on financial education this year, namely Making $ense of Money for secondary students and The Adventures of Agent Penny, a comic book for primary students. I know that the Citigroup will also send professional trainers to various secondary schools to give talks on financial management. And as an innovative attempt to teach students correct concepts about money matters in an interesting and easy-to-understand way, it has also commissioned a professional theatre group to perform a play based on the comic book in primary schools. I hope that schools will grasp this golden opportunity by enrolling in the Program.
I would also like to appeal to commercial and industrial corporations for their participation in the Business and Schools Partnership Programme, so that they can help to nurture for Hong Kong a new generation of students who are knowledgeable, responsible and concerned about social issues. The modes of cooperation can be varied to suit different circumstances. Examples include mentoring, seminars, visits, job placement, practical courses, financial sponsorship, etc. I would like to point out that children and youngsters from vulnerable families especially need these learning experiences to broaden their lives and horizons, so that they can compete with others on an equal footing.
Last but not least, I sincerely wish that the Citigroup Financial Education Program will be a great success and will reap fruitful results. Thank you.