Speech by CS at Malvern College Hong Kong foundation stone laying ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Malvern College Hong Kong today (April 20):

Ms Jacqueline So (Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Malvern College Hong Kong), Mr Antony Clark (Headmaster of Malvern College UK), Mr Allan Walker (Director of Malvern College International Schools), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you all at this foundation stone laying ceremony of the Malvern College Hong Kong campus.

     Established in 1865, Malvern is renowned for being innovative and helping students achieve their aspirations. Malvern has nurtured many alumni with phenomenal achievements, including C S Lewis and two renowned Nobel Prize winners, Francis W Aston and James Meade. I notice that there are some old Malvernians joining this ceremony with us today. I am sure that they are all very proud of their alma mater, and are here to witness and celebrate the extension of the 150-year heritage of Malvern to Hong Kong.

     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is committed to developing a vibrant international school sector to underpin our position as Asia's world city and an international hub. In Hong Kong, provision of international school places not only provides parents and students with more choices. It is also pivotal to providing a business-friendly environment and upholding the competitiveness of the city by maintaining our attractiveness to talents with school-age children. As the Chairperson of the International Business Committee, I am regularly in touch with members representing international business chambers, and I am happy to note that, with our efforts in the past few years, shortage in international school places is no longer topping their agenda.

     In this regard, a total of five vacant school premises and three greenfield sites, including this school site in Tai Po, have been allocated since 2013 for international school development under a competitive bidding process. We expect the provision of additional international school places to gradually materialise in the coming few years, with a projected number of around 4 200 additional school places available between the 2016/17 and 2018/19 school years. In respect of this site in Tai Po, Malvern is going to set up its first campus in Hong Kong and provide quality education to some 960 primary and secondary students progressively from the 2018/19 school year. We believe that with the Government's efforts and school sponsoring bodies' enthusiasm, it should be easier for expatriates to secure an international school place for their children in Hong Kong in the years to come.

     The Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to monitor the demand and supply situation of international school places in the territory. Further to the last consultancy study completed in end-2012, the Education Bureau has commissioned a new round of study to update the latest provision and to project the supply and demand in the next few years. The study is expected to be completed by the middle of this year. The Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to maintain dialogue with the international schools community, the business sector and the international community in Hong Kong in this regard.

     International schools are important partners of the HKSAR Government in supporting the international community in Hong Kong. I would hence encourage Malvern and other international schools to accord priority to admitting non-local students and facilitate their admission, as some of them may come to Hong Kong in the middle of a school year. As an integral part of our community, I also encourage international schools to take part in the many youth development and social innovation projects to better our city. This would in turn provide opportunities for students to be exposed to local culture and feel a sense of belonging to our vibrant city, as well as strengthen their sense of global citizenship.

     Ladies and gentlemen, today marks a milestone for Malvern, as well as the international school sector in Hong Kong. May I once again welcome Malvern to set foot in Hong Kong, and congratulate Malvern College Hong Kong on successfully taking forward this project which I am sure will be completed on time and within budget. I wish the school every success with this campus.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:52