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Transcript of remarks by SED
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, at a media session after attending the opening ceremony of the HKTDC Education & Careers Expo today (February 23):

Reporter: Mr Ng, there has been another surge in the number of student suicide cases in Hong Kong. So do you think that the recommendations from the Committee (on Prevention of Student Suicides) are not effective enough to cope with this problem?

Secretary for Education: Thank you for the question. If you look at the Committee formed, and the report I received with the recommendations late last year, a lot focused on fundamentals. For example, the suicide problem is a very complex problem. It is not a simple-dimensional reason. It is a combination of various factors. That is for sure. That is being understood properly, basing on the scientific investigation and study of the Committee. And secondly, we need to build a new culture in the schools to make sure mutual caring will be important, because many of those cases being identified here and there actually have a lot to do with the support given and the personal ability to manage adversities, particularly in relationship with parents. That is why a lot of the special programmes are being activated at the school level, including caring about each other as a daily routine, and (we) also (have) the special pilot scheme of having medical professionals, social workers as well as teachers working together as a special team to support schools in need of help. Pilot (phase) 1 has been done with nine schools. Another eight schools will be in the pipeline, as examples. All these try to focus on what we call high-risk groups.

     However, the general observation lately is that we still have a lot more work to do. For the recent cases, it looks like they may not fall into the high-risk category. (The deceased were) pretty silent and did pretty well in school. (Their cases) may have a lot to do with parents' support and understanding. We still need to look into that. I had two meetings already yesterday with, first of all, a political party, with District Council members, because they care about it, as well as last night I met with the seven affected schools' principals and teachers to try to understand exactly what is going on and what they can do. So we will be pulling our ideas and brains together with more expertise involved in order to have a better understanding, a deeper and more current understanding, and try to address it and come up with even more immediate suggestions, like we need to put up quickly again the APIs (Announcements in the Public Interest) to provide very short but important messages so that young people and parents will pick them up easily and be able to provide help on the spot.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Thursday, February 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:51
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