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SED: Nurture talent for HK as world city and regional education hub (with photos)

     The Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, has today (January 30) concluded his official visit to the United Kingdom (UK). During his stay in London, he endeavoured to promote Hong Kong's education reform and policies as well as its role as a world city and a regional education hub.

     In delivering his keynote speech at the Education World Forum earlier, Mr Ng told ministers and delegates from around the world that Hong Kong has been making good progress in enhancing its status as a regional education hub through education reform as well as internationalisation and diversification of its education.

     "To help our new generation meet the challenge of the 21st century, Hong Kong embarked on a journey of education reform in 2000. We attach great importance to the whole-person development of our students and seek to provide a learning environment encouraging and helping them to set their own goals, prepare themselves for their career and academic aspirations, and develop positive attitudes that help them become life-long learners.

     "The reform is comprehensive, from basic education to higher education and from curriculum to assessment. Last summer, the first cohort of students completed the new senior secondary curriculum, which is broad and balanced and able to provide more choices for them to meet their own aspirations, needs and aptitudes," he said.

     "The new Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education managed to serve as a global passport, opening up multiple progression opportunities for further studies and career development both locally and globally."

     Turning to post-secondary education, Mr Ng said that the Government had adopted a strategy to promote the parallel development of the publicly funded sector and the self-financing sector, and sought to upgrade higher education in terms of quantity and quality.

     "By 2015, over one-third of the relevant age cohort will have the opportunity to pursue degree-level education. Taking sub-degree places into account, nearly 70 per cent of young people will have access to post-secondary education," he said.

     As a world city in Asia and with world-class universities as well as the enhanced development of the higher education sector, Hong Kong is no doubt well positioned to become a regional education hub, Mr Ng said.

     "After introducing a basket of measures in recent years to support non-local students and course-providing institutions, our efforts have started to bear fruit. In the 2011/12 academic year, there were about 20,900 non-local students coming from over 70 countries or regions. On the other hand, there were about 1,100 courses offered by over 200 non-local recognised institutions.

     "I am confident that our education reform will make Hong Kong an even better place for education and, through enhancing our status as a regional education hub, we will further strengthen Hong Kong's competitiveness," he remarked.

     After delivering the speech, Mr Ng went to the University College London (UCL), where he toured the campus and met with the President and Provost of the UCL, Professor Malcolm Grant. A variety of topics were discussed, including internationalisation of higher education and student exchange activities.

     Mr Ng then called on the UK's Minister of State (Universities and Science), Mr David Willetts, to exchange views on the strategies for developing higher education and the strengthening of co-operation between the two places.

     On the last day of his three-day visit to London, Mr Ng met and briefed the local media on the latest developments of Hong Kong and rounded up the official visit. He was also interviewed by the Economist on the factors contributing to the outstanding performance of Hong Kong students in various international studies, including a professional teaching force.

     In concluding the visit, Mr Ng reiterated the Government's commitment to education and enhanced international collaboration, especially in the areas of student exchange and internship programmes. He will arrive in Hong Kong tonight.

Ends/Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:13


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