Speech on Nurturing Talents in a Globalised World – Hong Kong's Game Plan & Opportunities for Canada
9 June 2008 (Monday)
“Nurturing Talents in a Globalised World –
Hong Kong’s Game Plan & Opportunities for
Speech by Mr. Michael M Y Suen, GBS, JP
Secretary for Education
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here in
Today, I want to talk about what
I will also be happy to take a few questions at the end.
First, though, allow me to start with a macro perspective, and explain why 21st century
Our people are without doubt our greatest asset. This has been said many times about many places, but it is particularly true of
Why? Firstly, because
In the long term, one of our biggest challenges will be coping with the combination of an ageing population and low birth rate, resulting in a shrinking workforce. This will place even greater focus on our education system and the talent it produces.
To better equip our students for a rapidly changing world, we initiated an education reform programme about 10 years ago. This reform, together with the hard work of our teachers and students, is showing promising results.
Three of our universities placed in the top 60 of the Times Higher Education Supplement 2007. And an executive MBA programme offered by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was ranked as the world’s best by the Financial Times of London last year.
Although we are pleased with the progress, the fine-tuning of our education system continues.
From the 2008-09 school year starting in September, free education in our public primary and secondary schools will be extended from nine to 12 years. The following year we will begin phasing in small-class teaching in primary schools.
These are just some of the ways we intend to nurture talent in a globalised world.
In parallel with our education policies, there are other measures to help raise the quality of our human capital so that we can achieve sustainable economic growth in the long term.
We are opening the door wider to overseas talent including students, business people, investors and those with special talents such as musicians, sports people and those with creative talents.
Mr Barry Beck is a good example. The Vancouver-born former NHL star came to
Yes, even in the heat and humidity of
This is how our diverse and cosmopolitan city life works. It extends beyond the classrooms and office buildings to sports arenas as well as theatres, shopping arcades and places of worship.
Mr Beck is one of almost 500 people from a variety of professions who have been admitted to
Others who have come to
Recently we eased the requirements for the QMAS by relaxing the age restrictions and certain other criteria such as the length of work experience so that more people can apply.
We also have the Entry for Employment as Professionals Scheme, which has brought in more than 210,000 high quality people from different fields over the past decade.
This arrangement gives employers more flexibility in recruiting individuals from various fields having regard for changing markets and shifting demand for talent in different areas of expertise.
There is also a scheme for investors, which we call the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. With a minimum investment of about CA$830,000 [HK$6.5 million] overseas citizens can settle in
Highly skilled people from the mainland of
What about students?
We have already begun increasing in phases the quota of non-local students in publicly funded programmes. Non-local students in these programmes currently number about 7,300, or 10 per cent of the total number of students. By raising the quota to 20 per cent over time we can increase the pool of talent in the long run.
In a new development, non-local students are now able to take up part-time jobs on-campus during their courses, and off-campus during the summer break. They will also be able to remain in Hong Kong for up to a year after they graduate so they have time to find a job and the chance to develop their careers in
The door is also open to non-local students who have completed their studies in
I have touched on some of the things we are doing in Hong Kong to attract and retain talent, but it is also imperative in this era of globalisation that we reach out to other countries and improve international collaboration in education.
Last month, I visited
I was deeply impressed by the dedication of teachers in
We estimate that about 15 per cent of Hong Kong students undertaking higher education outside Hong Kong turn to
The arts centre is an impressive complex with a large auditorium and new teaching classrooms for visual and performing arts.
The opening of this arts complex comes at a time when
A vibrant international school sector is part and parcel of Hong Kong’s reputation as
As well as the Canadian curriculum, the more than 50 international schools in Hong Kong offer curricula including German-Swiss, French, Australian, Singaporean, Korean and Chinese. Many schools also offer International Baccalaureate programmes.
To cope with strong demand for international school places, the government is working with the schools to expand capacity. This includes making more sites available to develop new schools, or expand existing ones.
Finally, let me talk about areas for further growth and co-operation.
As I mentioned, Hong Kong and
Of the 7,200 non-local students enrolled in higher education programmes this academic year, just 16 are from
We welcome more Canadian students in both areas.
Another exciting area for further collaboration is research and development.
There are more than 200 research projects conducted between institutions in
In his Budget in February, the Financial Secretary set aside some CA$2.3 billion [HK$18 billion] for a research endowment fund to support research and development activities at our tertiary institutions. I believe this will open up new areas for co-operation in research between Hong Kong and
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope that I have been able to give you an idea of how
Thank you, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.