Speech by Mr Raymond H C Wong, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education
at the 26th Graduation Ceremony of Kiangsu Chekiang College (Shatin)
on Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Mr Lam (Chairman of School Management Committee), Mr Hsu, Dr Yu (School Supervisor), Mr Chan (School Principal), distinguished guests, parents, staff and students,
It gives me great pleasure to join you this afternoon to share with our graduates this very important moment in their lives.
Graduation day is a chance to celebrate and look to the future. Our young graduates today will be experiencing many emotions. You no doubt will be feeling the joy of achievement and the support of your friends, teachers, parents and the school. And this is worth celebrating. Nearly all of us remember fondly these important days. The memories of these days do sustain us when times may be less certain or enjoyable.
The other emotions you might be feeling are excitement and apprehension about the future. The learning you have done in this school will have given you a sound foundation for the next stage of your lives. Increasingly it will involve tertiary education or combinations of work and further study.
As we celebrate the graduates, many adults here will be thinking about how they felt and what they did after they left school. I can say when I left school I did not have a clear plan. I had done some voluntary work at my school and this had led me to think training as a social worker might be my best path. I enrolled in the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Hong Kong . In the end I never directly used my qualification in a narrow professional sense. But looking back, it becomes clear to me that the sense of serving the public has always been part of my career in the administrative service of the government. The knowledge, skills and values you have learned here will no doubt influence you throughout your lives regardless of the diverse pathways and likely changes of direction that you may take.
Today, post secondary institutions, employers and the community are looking for young people with broad horizons, positive work attitudes, a commitment to our society and country, and a capacity to collaborate with and to serve others. These personal qualities can only be partially cultivated through subject or textbook-based learning. Our younger generation needs a broad and balanced curriculum to build up these capacities.
I am delighted that your school is keeping its mission in achieving all-round quality education and whole-person development of students. I understand the College is serving as a Resource School to disseminate exemplary practices in the promotion of all-round development of students. This is a tribute to the principal, teachers and the school sponsoring body. In order to lead fulfilling lives our young people need quality learning experiences in the broad domains of ethics, intellect, physique, social skills and aesthetics. The students here are well equipped in reaching their goals, and in facing the many challenges in life. They will be ready to make contributions to the future of our community, our country and the world at large.
The leading examples of schools such as this have caused us to build formal structured ‘Other Learning Experiences’ into the new senior secondary curriculum. These experiences will go alongside the core and elective subjects (including Applied Learning courses). At least 15% of the lesson time of students will be taken up with learning experiences in Moral and Civic Education, Community Service, Career-related Experiences, Aesthetic and Physical Development.
These learning experiences are the sole property of senior secondary education. Our graduates will have opportunity, both formally and informally, in their post-school further education to develop their all round strengths. Moral and Civic Education aims to enhance capacity for moral judgment and civic awareness. We all need to be “informed”, “sensible” and “responsible” citizens. I am pleased to see the College promotes service learning. The graduates will have gained a great deal through volunteer activities.
Aesthetic development promotes expression, appreciation of all the arts, and how culture influences other domains of knowledge such as science and technology, languages and history. Physical development enhances confidence, perseverance and risk taking, and generic skills of collaboration, communication and creativity. Graduates should not ignore the physical and aesthetic areas of their development. They provide life lessons, life-long interest and a foundation for life long learning.
The knowledge and skills you have gained here, and those you will gain in the future will be important. However of equal, perhaps greater importance are the values you take with you and continue to develop. This will make the difference in the life you have and the contribution you can make to your family, your work and the society. Some of these values are -
For the principal, the teachers and the 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 . This is a day of harvest for you all. May I wish you all good health and the school’s continued success in the coming years.