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SED visits Zhuhai to enhance education exchanges (with photos)

     The Secretary for Education (SED), Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, today (May 8) completed his two-day official visit to Zhuhai for enhancing exchanges and collaboration in the area of education between Hong Kong and the city.

     Mr Ng met with the Director of the Zhuhai Municipal Education Bureau, Mr Zhong Yijun. They discussed their respective education policies and practices, and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern, such as student exchange activities and cultivation of a global mindset as well as collaboration between higher education institutions in Hong Kong and Zhuhai. Mr Ng particularly highlighted the reform of senior secondary education in Hong Kong and the extension of its university education from three years to four.

     Mr Ng also visited United International College (UIC), jointly founded by Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University, at the invitation of the College, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary. After delivering a speech at a high table dinner at UIC last night, Mr Ng this morning went on to give its students a lecture entitled "Education, Manpower Planning and Competitiveness - The Case of Hong Kong."

     Mr Ng told the audience that Hong Kong has worked to maintain and enhance its competitiveness both regionally and globally, noting that Hong Kong ranked first for 12 consecutive years in the 2014 Annual Report on China Urban Competitiveness published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and fourth in the World Competitiveness Rankings 2014 released by the Lausanne-based International Institute for Management Development.

     "However, Hong Kong is faced with an ageing population. By 2041, about one in three people in Hong Kong will be over 65 years old and the dependency ratio will increase significantly," he said.

     "Thus, we need to continue to focus our efforts on quality and enhance the productivity of our working population. Education of our young people is definitely a key to it. Hong Kong has been endeavouring to provide every student with the chance to receive quality education with multiple development pathways.

     "In the 2014/15 academic year, some 24 per cent of the students of the relevant cohorts can get into publicly funded undergraduate programmes. Putting self-financing programmes into the equation, the overall undergraduate participation rate has exceeded 46 per cent. Including sub-degree courses, about 70 per cent of the students of the relevant cohorts can now enrol in post-secondary education programmes.

     "However, we know that each student may have different talents and that his or her potential should be unleashed. In this connection, the Education Bureau has strengthened career and life planning education at each public-sector secondary school to help students better understand their own interests and strengths, know more about different further study and employment opportunities, and enhance their awareness of the multiple pathways ahead," he added.

     "We have also improved our vocational education through the Vocational Training Council by introducing a training and support scheme and enhancing industrial attachment programmes. In addition, we have set up a task force to map out the strategy for promoting vocational education in the community."
     Mr Ng looked ahead to building up a more high-calibre and diversified talent pool for Hong Kong to meet the challenges and opportunities in the decades to come, and at the same time providing more fulfilling opportunities for each and every young person.   

     The SED noticed that many students at UIC are interested in seeking opportunities for further studies and career development in Hong Kong. In addition to visiting UIC, Mr Ng also visited the Zhuhai campus of Sun Yat-sen University. He took the opportunity to speak with students to learn more about their campus life and aspirations, and encouraged them to equip themselves to make contributions to the development of the nation.

     Accompanied by the Administrative Assistant to the SED, Mr Rick Chan, Mr Ng will return from Zhuhai to Hong Kong tonight.

Ends/Friday, May 8, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:30


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