The Open University of Hong Kong
Inauguration Ceremony 2017
Students, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! I would like to first thank Professor WONG Yuk-shan for inviting me here today to kick start a new academic year with all of you!
For most of you, today is the very first day of your new life at OUHK. Beginnings are always full of hope and excitement. For many of you, coming to university means growing up and becoming independent. For some of you, it means living in a city away from home.
University life is an adventure and a brand new experience. Some wise man once said: "Education is what is left after you have forgotten everything you have learned." University is not just about lectures, exams and career preparation. It is also about exploring new interests, finding your passion in life, developing your character, meeting people from different backgrounds and making lifelong friends, and ultimately getting to know yourself better. So open your hearts and minds to new people and new experiences. Be curious and try something new. At the same time, be critical and committed to doing your best in anything you do.
Being a university student means that you are given both responsibilities as well as rights. You have the right to have your opinions heard. But you also have the responsibility of hearing others’ views, particularly when they share different views from yours. Tolerance and respect for others are hallmarks of a well-educated person.
To enable students to unleash full potential, the Government is dedicated to provide more support to you through the University.
As a very recent Government support measure, starting from this academic year, most of you will be given $30,000 annual non-means-tested subsidy to pursue your undergraduate studies. Meanwhile, the Government will continue to implement the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors to provide up to $40,000 or $70,000 annual subsidy to undergraduate students in selected programmes. This year, more than 300 new students in 4 programmes at OUHK will benefit from the Scheme, including students in general healthcare, mental healthcare, animation and visual effect, as well as testing and certification.
With the expansion of the Scheme in the 2018/19 academic year, we will provide subsidy to all eligible students in a total of 12 programmes offered by OUHK. By then, more than 4 000 new and continuing students from OUHK will have their tuition fees largely subsidised through the Scheme.
Apart from the above subsidy schemes, both local and non-local OUHK students who excel in academic and other fields will have the opportunity to receive various awards and scholarships under the Self-financing Post-secondary Scholarship Scheme administered by the Education Bureau.
On top of the schemes benefitting students directly, the Government has put in place a number of other initiatives to help our self-financing post-secondary institutions grow. For instance, we have reserved $500 million for eligible institutions, including OUHK, to tap more private donations for matching of government grants. Besides, we are also working together with OUHK to hopefully secure a total of $400 million start-up loan to finance the construction of a new Nursing and Healthcare Complex in Sheung Shing Street. If everything goes smoothly, the new campus would start to operate in 2020.
Through a host of measures, we are determined to support the healthy and sustainable development of our post-secondary education. Our ultimate goal is to provide a better environment and experience for all of our students to learn and grow, because talents is the most precious asset of Hong Kong and is pivotal for us to prevail as a leading city in Asia and in the world.
I would like to encourage all OUHK students to seize every opportunity open to you, embrace your university life and make the most out of it, and grasp the knowledge and skills to prepare for your dreams and future endeavours.
I wish you all a fruitful year ahead, as well as happiness and good health. Thank you!