Speech at Reception in Finland
Speech by Mr Michael M. Y. SUEN, GBS, JP
Secretary for Education of the HKSAR
on 6 May 2008
Nurturing Talents in the Global World
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to be here in
I am grateful to the Finnish Government and your Consul General in
Let me first congratulate
I am pleased to say that
Still, there is no room for complacency for us.
In the next few minutes I will bring you up to date with the latest developments in our own education system.
I will also highlight our strategy for developing Hong Kong into an education centre in
In the current school year, more than 7,200 non-local students come to
We already have a well-established student exchange programme with
So what can overseas students, as well as academics and business people, expect from
Firstly, we have a multicultural society where people of all backgrounds, regardless of race and religion mix easily in the community. Our cultural diversity, with a unique blend of influences from East and West makes for an interesting and vibrant city life.
Chinese and English are both official languages in
This element of continuity is guaranteed by our constitutional document, the Basic Law. The Basic Law ensures that Hong Kong people will continue to run
We continue to enjoy the same freedoms as we have done for decades, including a free flow of information, ideas, and a free and probing media.
We have a zero tolerance approach to corruption, and the rule of law is upheld by an independent judiciary. All these and many more have helped to secure
Today, Hong Kong is the city of choice for overseas companies looking to the Asian markets, and in particular
Many of them are drawn to the city by our world-class financial services sector, excellent telecommunications infrastructure and a deep pool of local and international expertise.
To maintain our status as an international city in
I will talk about our homegrown talent first.
Education takes up the largest share of government resources. Annual spending on education exceeds 4 billion Euros. That is almost a quarter of total government expenditure.
To help our students meet the challenges in a rapidly changing world, we are equipping them with the ability for life-long learning through a comprehensive education reform programme.
This reform programme was initiated about 10 years ago. I am pleased to say our efforts, and the hard work of our teachers, are bearing fruit.
The performance of our universities is also encouraging. Three of our universities placed in the top 60 of the Times Higher Education Supplement 2007. They host some of
Building on our strengths, we will continue to nurture our younger generation by equipping them with broad-based knowledge, high adaptability skills and the ability to think independently and creatively.
It is also important that no one is left behind and that all children have access to a good education.
From the start of our next school year in September we will extend our nine-year free education programme to 12 years through public sector primary and secondary schools.
Another initiative is a new academic structure for the senior secondary and undergraduate levels. The aim here is to provide a more diversified curriculum for our students promoting their whole-person development.
The applied research at these institutions will help the business community master new developments in our knowledge-based economy.
In addition to nurturing our local talent, we encourage more overseas people to come to
Their presence enhances our status as
Children’s education is one of the top priorities for people considering a move to
To meet strong demand for places, more land is being set aside for the expansion of existing schools and the development of new ones.
We are further opening the door to students from every corner of the world. A diverse cultural and learning environment helps broaden students’ horizons and generate innovative ideas.
For one thing, we will increase the quota for non-local students. We are also relaxing employment and immigration restrictions to provide non-local students with the greatest flexibility possible in developing their career in
Another way of providing support for this sector is through scholarships. In his Policy Address last October, our Chief Executive announced the creation of a 80 million Euros Government Scholarship Fund for both local and non-local students.
I am confident that the measures I have mentioned will help attract energetic and high quality students to our community.
My final point today is about ensuring quality and relevance of the academic qualifications for life-long learning. To achieve this we are developing a Qualification Framework or QF for short. This is a seven-level hierarchy against which academic, vocational and continuing education qualifications can be benchmarked. The QF helps people plot their educational progress and plan their next step. It also helps employers better understand the qualifications and the training needs of their people.
In the long run, the QF promotes lifelong learning so that we can ultimately raise the quality of our human capital and remain a competitive and dynamic city in this age of globalisation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope I have been able to give you some ideas as to what we are doing in
As a city with few natural resources, we regard our people as our greatest asset. So it is critical that we provide the right learning environment for our students and give them the opportunity to keep on learning throughout their lifetime.
Given our business-friendly reputation and prime location in the heart of East Asia I believe
My present trip to
I thank you again for your hospitality and I look forward to closer educational collaboration between Hong Kong and