Speech by Mr Raymond HC Wong, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower
at the Annual Speech Day of CCC Ming Kei College
on Saturday, 2 June 2007
Dr Li, the School Supervisor, Mr Hui, School Principal, Distinguished Guests, Parents, Teachers and Students,
It gives me great pleasure to join you for the school’s annual speech day and to share with our graduates this very important moment in their lives.
The teachers and parents of our graduates will be feeling quite mixed emotions – on the one hand they will be celebrating your achievements, on the other they know you are entering a new stage of your lives where you will be more independent of them and they will have high hopes for your future.
These occasions always trigger an emotional response as each of us remembers our own graduation at key stages during our lives.
Graduation is a time to reflect on the exciting and wonderful years at your school. At the same time we are looking through the window to a future where new challenges will arise and new friendships formed.
Today’s Speech Day commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Ming Kei College .
Imagine the first graduates of the school who started at Ming Kei in 1967. Those students were much less likely to study beyond S3 and only a few could contemplate university or other post secondary education. In 2007, post-secondary opportunities abound and I expect our graduates will explore many different paths combining further study, travel, training and work.
Forty years ago, the interconnectedness of the world was being increasingly understood and realized through television, satellite transmissions and cheaper air travel.
But those first graduates could hardly imagine the world in which we now live. When you started primary school the world wide web was just coming into being in late 1993. The WEB is barely a teenager.
We are only beginning to understand the impact the microchip, the internet and other advanced technologies are having on our lives. But what we do know is that the economy and society of Hong Kong, Mainland China and the world is rapidly changing. Some jobs or careers have disappeared or have changed dramatically, new ones have emerged.
The story of Yang Li-wei , China ’s first astronaut is illustrative of the ways we need to think about the changes underway.
We all watched in awe as Yang Li-wei returned from China ’s manned space flight, making China the third nation (following the US and Russia ) to achieve the feat.
China ’s space flight built on the knowledge generated by others but at the same time developed a programme “with Chinese characteristics”.
Yang Li-wei’s exited from his capsule in the desert was a powerful television image. But behind that simple act are several stories.
First, the mission could not assume the capsule would land where it was intended – the desert. What if one slight navigational error resulted in the landing of the capsule in the mountains or the sea. The safety of Yang Li-wei was paramount. Some 80% of the effort of the mission was spent on safety and on the possibility that the capsule might not land as planned. The mission spent a great deal of time on an uncertain occurrence.
Second, Yang Li-wei wanted to exit the capsule ‘unassisted’. Astronauts have always been helped from their capsule on landing. Yang Li-wei undertook strenuous physical training to achieve this.
Third, Yang Li-wei started his career as a pilot. When invited to the astronaut program, he had to go back to school to study space and the science he needed for the task. In other words, he needed new knowledge. Commitment and perseverance and whole person development underpin the achievement of China ’s first astronaut.
Lastly, while the astronaut is the face or the image of the achievement, the mission was accomplished through the efforts of a multi-disciplinary team of some 3000 people – all with different skills and backgrounds. They had a common goal and only an excellent team could reach that goal.
Team such as these need people who can demonstrate -
More than ever our world needs our young people to be sensitive to other cultures and who can cross specialist subjects and borders.
I am confident your parents and teachers believe there is great potential in all the students here today. Already some of you are passionate about the arts or sciences, sports or languages. Others may still be seeking something which will excite them and result in a deep love of learning to carry them through life. The task of parents, teachers, schools and tertiary institutions is to help you discover your potential and a life-long love of learning.
While the students are our focus today, I would like to illustrate the theme of life-long learning through the school’s 40th anniversary and the impending retirement of the Principal Mr Hui. Mr Hui has been the school’s leader for a decade and a half, through a period of significant change in Hong Kong and our education system. Mr Hui has not only contributed to the school in a profound way, and intelligently led the teaching staff to meet the changing needs of the students as they came through Ming Kei College, he has also steadfastly contributed to his profession and the education field outside the school. Mr Hui is renowned for his balanced, honest, and if necessary, forthright views on all matters as they affect schools and students. Mr Hui has always been willing to take up important positions to assist the education process. Currently, he is the Deputy Chair of the HKEAA, a very important and challenging position. Mr Hui puts student learning and progress at the heart of his work. I personally want to thank Mr Hui on behalf of the EMB for his contribution, and no doubt continued contributions, as he enters a new stage in his life.
To the teachers and parents, I thank you for the boundless love and untiring efforts in supporting and guiding our young people in whom rest the hopes and future of Hong Kong .
Congratulations to the graduates and prize winners. I wish you the very best for your future.