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Hong Kong focuses on nurturing talent (with photos)

    It was imperative in this era of globalisation for Hong Kong to reach out to other countries  to collaborate in education and in nurturing of talent, according to the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen.

    Speaking today (June 9, Toronto time) at a breakfast seminar, entitled "Nurturing Talent in a Globalised world - Hong Kong's Game Plan and Opportunities for Canada", jointly organised by the Asian Institute of the University of Toronto and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association in Toronto, Mr Suen said Hong Kong and Canada already enjoy sound educational ties, but as an important international partner, Canada had a significant part to play and "we can do even better".

    Hong Kong's education institutions have student exchange arrangements with more than 30 of their counterparts in Canada. "Of the 2,900 incoming exchange students this academic year, 231 are from Canada, while 289 Hong Kong students went to Canada," Mr Suen said, while calling for more exchanges.

    He said an exciting area for international collaboration was research and development. "There are more than 200 research projects conducted between institutions in Canada and Hong Kong's high education sector covering areas such as biological sciences, physical sciences, engineering, IT and computer science and technology."

    Education takes up the largest share of Hong Kong government's spending. The Special Administrative Region has set aside in this year's budget about $18 billion (CAD$2.3 billion) for a research endowment fund to support research and development activities at its tertiary institutions. "I believe this will open up new areas for co-operation in research between Hong Kong and Canada," he said.

    Mr Suen said Hong Kong was so reliant on strong education because "one of our biggest challenges will be coping with the combination of an ageing population and low birth rate, resulting in a shrinking workforce." And, "in a small externally-oriented economy such as ours, it is the vitality, entrepreneurship and hard work of our people that keeps us competitive in an increasingly competitive word."

    He highlighted the Government's various measures to help raise the quality of its human capital in a globalised world, and stressed that opportunities were opening up in Hong Kong for overseas students, including those from Canada.

    "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 creative talent," Mr Suen said.

    The Secretary for Education cited programmes such as the "Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)", "Entry for Employment as Professionals Scheme", "Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals", and "Capital Investment Entrant Scheme", as well as the newly-introduced "Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates" scheme, as examples.

    The Vancouver-born former NHL (National Hockey League) star Barry Beck is one of the 500 people who have been admitted to Hong Kong under the QMAS since its launch in June, 2006.  Other high-profile names include world-renowned pianists Lang Lang and Li Yundi, and actress Zhang Ziyi.

    The "Entry for Employment as Professional Scheme" has also brought in more than 210,000 high quality people from different fields over the past decade. And, under the "Capital Investment Entrant Scheme", with a minimum investment of about CAD$830,000, overseas citizens can settle in Hong Kong.

    The seminar was attended by about 80 representatives from the academic, education, business and political sectors in Toronto.

    Mr Suen will be in Peru later this week to attend the fourth Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation's Education Ministerial Meeting (AEMM).

Ends/Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Issued at HKT 11:45


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