2009-10 Policy Address by Chief Executive (4)

Education Services

26. On the development of education services, our objective is to enhance Hong Kong's status as a regional education hub, boosting Hong Kong's competitiveness and complementing the future development of the Mainland. As announced earlier, we have allocated four greenfield sites to four operators for international school development.  Looking forward, we will explore the possibility of allowing Mainland senior secondary students to study in Hong Kong.  For example, we may allow them to take short-term courses offered by our degree-awarding tertiary institutions, or pursue senior secondary education at non-public schools in Hong Kong.


27. In recent years, the Government has introduced a series of measures to internationalise our schools and institutions. As a result, the number of non-local students in Hong Kong reached 9 200 in the 2008-09 school year, representing a rise of 16% over the previous year.  We will consider further relaxing the relevant requirements by, for example, allowing Mainland students to pursue studies in non-local programmes at degree level or above in Hong Kong.  Apart from targeting Mainland students, we will encourage our higher education institutions to step up exchange and promotion in Asia.  An increase of non-local students will provide a more international environment for local students to broaden their horizons.


28. At present, there are three self-financing degree-awarding tertiary institutions in Hong Kong, providing some 9 000 places in total.  We consider that the self-financing higher education sector has room for further expansion and is an important component of education services. To facilitate its development, we have, as announced earlier, reserved two urban sites for interested operators to provide self-financing degree programmes. These two sites, one in Ho Man Tin and the other in Wong Chuk Hang, are expected to provide some 4 000 places.  We will continue to identify other suitable sites for this purpose. Meanwhile, we will take advantage of the new policy on revitalising industrial buildings to enable institutions to run self-financing programmes.  We will also provide loans to help institutions meet the costs of purpose-built accommodation and facilities. To this end, we propose to increase the total commitment of the Start-up Loan Scheme by $2 billion.

29. Developing our education services will bolster the pluralistic, international and professional outlook of Hong Kong, and make the best use of social resources in the non-government sector to provide more opportunities for local students to pursue degree education.

Formulating a Long-term Strategy

30. In view of the rapid development of higher education in the Mainland and the region, we must review the positioning of higher education in Hong Kong and formulate a long-term development strategy.  The University Grants Committee (UGC) has commenced another Higher Education Review to examine such areas as the vision and role of higher education in Hong Kong, its development trend, quality assurance and the research support strategy for the sector.  The UGC aims to submit a report to the Government in 2010.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:32