The International Symposium of the Jockey Club “Sports without Limits”
Youth Empowerment Programme cum ASAPE 2022 Hong Kong
Professor (Rocky) Tuan, Mr (Sam) Loni, Dr (Gabriel) LEUNG, Professor (Cindy) Sit, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to join you all here at the Opening Ceremony of the International Symposium of the Jockey Club “Sports without Limits” Youth Empowerment Programme cum ASAPE 2022 Hong Kong. On behalf of the Education Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to speakers, presenters, and participants from around the globe.
The International Symposium is a vivid testimony of the Hong Kong spirit which treasures cross-sectoral partnership. With the generous funding support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the International Symposium is organised by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Sports Science and Physical Education and Faculty of Education, co-organized by the Asian Society for Adapted Physical Education and Exercise (ASAPE); and supported by The Hong Kong Physical Education Teachers Society. I am glad that this symposium will serve as a platform for scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners from all over the world to share their high-quality and impactful research on adapted physical activity. Adapted physical activity is an academic field of study and service delivery profession that promotes active and healthy lifestyle of individuals with disabilities and recognizes individual differences and empowerment. I am confident that the research impacts will continue to inspire and drive the development of adapted sports and special physical education in Asia and beyond. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to thank the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for their generous support, and to the Programme team, Organizing Committee and Scientific Committee of this symposium for their great efforts.
Hong Kong attaches great importance to education, social inclusion and sport for all. We are pleased that these three aspects are enshrined in the concept of “Sports without Limits” of the Programme, which aims to empower students with disabilities to be physically active through adapted sports, and strives to develop professional training by collaborating with international organizations including Global Schools, an initiative of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network in support of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Social inclusion is also an objective of the Programme, which has attracted the participation of 29 special schools and 12 regular primary and secondary to join hands in facilitating social inclusion between students with and without disabilities.
Indeed, education is one of Hong Kong’s top priorities, with around one in five dollars of government spending devoted to education. We also promote sport for all. In fact, we are going to celebrate “Sport for All Day” this coming Sunday. We encourage all people, irrespective of their abilities, age and background to engage in sport and physical activities because we firmly believe in the benefits of exercise for the body and mind. Special education is dear to our heart. Over the past five years, we have increased our expenditure in special education by over 40%. In particular, the Education Bureau promotes physical education for students with special educational needs. We have been collaborating with special schools that admit students with intellectual disabilities, to jointly develop a physical education adaptation curriculum for their students. In order to assist the physical development of students with intellectual disabilities, promote their physical and mental health and improve their quality of life, we also provide professional support for physical education teachers to enhance their professional capabilities in physical education curriculum design and adaptation, application of learning and teaching strategies, and assessment accommodation. In addition, we have launched a large-scale project called “Active Students, Active People” Campaign to rally the concerted efforts of schools (including special schools), parents as well as other stakeholders to promote an optimised sports atmosphere in schools and in society, and encourage students to engage in regular exercise as soon as possible for the sake of maintaining good health, adopting an active and healthy lifestyle, and unleashing vitality with positive attitudes. We believe that the implications from academic research in Adapted Physical Activity can further inspire our strategies and initiatives for students with special educational needs, in order to provide an alternative means for this student population to develop their potential and well-being through physical activity.
Last but not least, I am delighted to meet you all today virtually at this symposium. With the dedication of the scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners, let us continue to contribute innovative and ground-breaking ideas and practice to the field of sports science, adapted physical activity, and special physical education.
I wish the symposium a great success and all participants a most stimulating and fruitful experience. Thank you.