Transcript of remarks by SED

     Following is a transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng, at a media session after officiating at the Vocational Training Councilˇ¦s orientation programme for its non-Chinese speaking students today (September 17):

Secretary for Education: I have just participated in the orientation programme for non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education.  I am so glad to have a chance to chat, exchange and talk to the NCS students about the opportunities for academic pursuits as well as their aspirations for the future.

     The Government is committed to encouraging and supporting early integration of NCS students into the community, including facilitating their early adaptation to the local education system and mastery of the Chinese Language.  We appreciate that, apart from the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), some NCS students would like to sit for overseas Chinese Language examinations to obtain internationally recognised qualifications that could reflect more closely their language standards and be able to facilitate their further academic and career advancement.     

     At present, amongst the various overseas Chinese Language examinations, the Government is subsidising NCS students' participation in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (Chinese) Examination, but some NCS students would really want to consider the more advanced examination level than this one.

     In the light of this, particularly what the Chief Secretary for Administrationˇ¦s recent visit to the minority groups and bodies, as well as my recent meetings with some of them, we have decided to enhance the subsidy coverage for NCS studentsˇ¦ participation in overseas Chinese Language examinations.  We are going to add three more expensive (examinations), and thatˇ¦s what their aspiration is, covering  IGCSE, GCE AS-Level and GCE A-Level.  

     These three extra programmes carry examination fees ranging from about $1,100 to $4,000.  Under the current scheme, we will be able to subsidise the students just paying the local HKDSE Chinese Language (subject) fee (i.e. $540). The rest will be subsidised by the Government.

     For furtherance, for those students having financial difficulties, we would take a further step to halve the examination fee payable or even waive it altogether.

     To do this, we need to go and seek the approval of the Finance Committee upon commencement of the next Legislative Council session.  We wish to ensure that students applying to sit for overseas Chinese Language examinations next year (2013) will benefit from this new initiative.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, September 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:02