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SED continues visit to Melbourne (with photos)

     The Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, on the second day of his trip to Victoria, Australia, today (December 2) visited a former mainstream secondary school that had been transformed into a specialist secondary school providing aspiring athletes with the opportunity to balance their academic and sporting goals.

     Maribyrnong Secondary College, which had faced problems associated with under-enrolment, is now operating as a secondary school balancing the academic needs and the sporting goals of students with the potential to be elite athletes under a programme initiated by the Minister for Education and Training in March, 2006.

     In a briefing jointly given by the college principal, Mr Brian Rogers, and Specialist Sport Director, Mr Rob Carroll, the Secretary learnt that the school takes local students in Melbourne and sports enrolment across Victoria.  The current enrolment is around 480 students and is expected to grow to 1,100 over the next five years.

     As Victoria¡¦s first specialist sports high school, it draws from the expertise of organisations including the Victorian Institute of Sports, Victoria University and state and national sporting organisations.

     Later in the day, Mr Suen toured Federation Square, a cultural precinct combining modern architecture with heritage redevelopment in the city of Melbourne.  The square comprises a series of buildings containing a public broadcaster, art galleries, a museum and cinemas.  Accompanied by Federation Square¡¦s Chief Executive Officer Ms Kate Brennan, Mr Suen was shown around the attractions of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the National Gallery of Victoria.

     Mr Suen then joined a reception hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Sydney).  He said he was glad to share with education personnel and local community leaders the extensive reform process Hong Kong had undertaken to keep pace with the changing local, regional and international environment, including the introduction of 12 years of free education at the beginning of the current school year, the implementation of the New Senior Secondary academic structure for enhancing teaching and learning, and Hong Kong¡¦s development as a regional education hub by attracting outstanding students to study in Hong Kong.

     Mr Suen went on to attend a dinner hosted by the Hong Kong Australia Business Association Victorian Chapter, which was established in 1987 to promote a positive image of Hong Kong and to reinforce economic ties between Hong Kong and Australia.  He met local businessmen with strong Hong Kong connections and shared with them the latest developments in Hong Kong.

     Mr Suen is currently in Melbourne, leading the Hong Kong delegation to the 2008 International Education Leaders¡¦ Dialogue.  He is taking the opportunity to see how his Australian counterparts overcome challenges in education and also to promote Hong Kong to the Australian business community.

Ends/Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Issued at HKT 19:03


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