Speech by Mr Raymond HC Wong, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education
at the Annual Speech Day of Diocesan Girls’ School (DGS)
on Thursday, 10 January 2008
Bishop Soo, Mrs. Ho, Mrs. Lau, Distinguished Guests, Parents, Teachers and Students,
I am very pleased to be here today to share with the graduates and their parents this very special occasion.
Today is a day of celebration. Graduation is one of those milestones in life, the memories of which will remain with you forever. You have completed secondary education and are about to move on to another stage of life. Many of you will already know the path you wish to pursue in the next few years; others may be less certain. However, regardless of the field of studies or other pursuits you undertake, I have every confidence in you because of the education you received in DGS.
Throughout the 148-year history DGS has played a very significant role in shaping the educational landscape and influencing the transformation of Hong Kong . The school has nurtured generations and generations of talented and promising young leaders for this city. Their vision and leadership have underpinned the economic and social developments of Hong Kong . The achievements of DGS students are indeed remarkable. The graduates today follow the footsteps of these alumni and no doubt will deepen the contribution of this school to Hong Kong , the nation and to the global concerns facing all of us.
Students in DGS are blessed with an all-round education. Abundant opportunities are made available for them to learn and thrive. Above all, students here are inculcated with a desire to pursue intellectual truth, a determination to explore individual capacity and a commitment to serve the community. These virtues hold the key to our continued success in this fast-changing world. Today, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts of how these virtues could help you aspire to your goals and make the most of your life in the years ahead.
We are at a time when education is more important than ever. The world has changed as the process of globalization has taken hold. The pace of transformation is unprecedented. New technology has jumped geographical barriers and borders, unleashing the flow of information, paving way for the integration of emerging economies into world markets. In the 21st Century, prosperity depends on our capacity to compete effectively in the global market. To remain at the forefront of economic, social and cultural advances, our next generation needs the creation of new ideas along with the capacity to acquire the knowledge, skills and values which can lead to new knowledge and technology.
What propels ideas? What facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and technology? It’s your continued pursuit of intellectual truth. Girls, always remember that you are all teachers and learners. Ahead of you lie various study paths. Grab as many learning experiences as you can to challenge you, interest you and lead you to ask more questions. Expand the boundaries of your knowledge. Your continued pursuit will open up more learning opportunities in return. This is the way to foster your love of learning and the satisfaction you gain from deeper understanding of the world in which we live.
Apart from acquainting yourself with knowledge and technology, I would encourage you to explore your individual capacity in the years to come. You are fortunate to have been embraced by DGS’s commitment to all–round education. In this school, students are offered countless opportunities to take part in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. These activities bring you exposure and new insights which are instrumental to your development. These experiences in language and culture, mathematics and sciences, arts and physical development and community service may have tapped into an interest and aptitude which might lead to a life-long passion.
Outside this campus opportunities may not be as convenient to you as they are now. But I urge you to crave for participation in activities that may help broaden your horizons and build up your character. Through your participation you will learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. You will also learn that if you work hard enough on the right track, you could go beyond any perceived boundaries, we sometimes set for ourselves without really knowing it. These experiences are invaluable to you because they will help to prepare you for future challenges. Challenges are opportunities in disguise. Every challenge that you meet and conquer will provide you with another stepping stone to reach for the stars.
Intellectual excellence and fulfillment of potential do not necessarily make a good leader. We look for more in our young people. All good leaders share a common trait. They are devoted to public service.
I am delighted that DGS shares the view that leadership through public service should be at the heart of the education you have received in this school.
It has been the distinguished ethos of DGS to encourage its students to engage with global and local issues, and to engage with public service. Over the years DGS students have been deeply involved in community services in Hong Kong and their contribution is widely recognised.
The ethos DGS has all along advocated has become particularly important to Hong Kong and the nation in the 21st Century. Compared to earlier generations, we have more important issues to resolve. How do we sustain growth and retain our leading position in the competitive global market? At the same time how do we preserve and develop our culture, support our families and ensure growth is sustainable? These issues call for a comprehensive understanding of our world. The engagement of our young people in these issues will decide where Hong Kong will stand against our competitors in the future and how Hong Kong will contribute to the development of China . Hong Kong has invested heavily in you. DGS has offered you the best education. You will have invested heavily in your studies here and in developing the lifelong friends you will have made. This investment will allow you to take up your responsibilities to rise to the challenges we face. We expect you will serve Hong Kong as our leaders.
Graduates, congratulations on your accomplishments. I would also like to extend my congratulations to your parents and teachers whose untiring support and encouragement made your achievements possible. I know they will be proud as you move to the next stage of your lives.
At the beginning of the year 2008, may I wish you all great health and happiness in the days to come! Thank you.