SED: Hong Kong aspires to develop deeper regional and global collaborations (with photos)
Mr Ng made the remarks to education leaders from around the world when delivering a speech at one of the parallel sessions of Going Global 2017 organised by the British Council in London, the United Kingdom.
He noted that Hong Kong is a small city without abundant natural resources, and thus human talent is the most valuable resource of the city and the key to its success over the past decades. In a globalised and knowledge-based world, nurturing talent will continue to be one of Hong Kong's major tasks.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Hong Kong enjoys the unique dual advantages of "one country, two systems", with the "one country" advantage of being part of China bringing benefits from its development and its preferential policies towards Hong Kong, as well as the "two systems" advantage as compared with cities in Mainland China.
Building on its rapid and successful economic development in the past few decades, China has continued seeking to make contributions to the regional and world economy and benefit people across the world, such as the policies of the Belt and Road Initiative and a development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area.
Mr Ng told the education leaders that Hong Kong has been investing heavily in education. In 2017-18, the estimated recurrent expenditure on education will reach HK$78.6 billion, which is the biggest share among all policy areas. On top of this, the Financial Secretary has recently announced to set aside an additional HK$18 billion out of the Government's surplus for education purposes, such as for the provision of more resources for academic and research development in the higher education sector. The Chief Executive-elect has also made an additional commitment of HK$5 billion in recurrent spending on education.
Hong Kong has completed education reforms, which were introduced in 2000, progressively from primary and secondary schools to tertiary education. In 2017/18, the implementation of the free quality kindergarten education policy will extend free education from 12 years to 15 years. Hong Kong's education system is subject to constant renewal with a view to helping new generations advance with the times.
In recent years, international research institutes have given due recognition to the education outcomes and competitiveness of Hong Kong. Hong Kong was ranked first in both the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom 2017 and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016. According to the IMD World Talent Ranking, Hong Kong was ranked 10th last year - the top in Asia. And in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017, five universities in Hong Kong were among the top 200, up from three in the previous year.
Speaking of the decades to come, Mr Ng said that Hong Kong would deepen collaboration with other economies, and act as a regional hub and "super-connector" in the areas of education, innovation and technology, as well as financial, logistics and professional services.
To this end, the HKSAR Government has been making efforts to promote people-to-people bonding and collaborations with other economies. On the education front, the Hong Kong Scholarship for Belt and Road Students, the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme, the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund and the subsidy schemes on student exchange for post-secondary students are examples of related new initiatives. And there are also a variety of research collaboration projects between Hong Kong and other countries/regions.
Mr Ng called on the education leaders to join together to nurture talents for the 21st century who will not only have the necessary knowledge but also have the soft competence and world vision that could lead to co-operation and mutual benefit in a globalised world. Hong Kong will always be the ideal collaborative partner in Asia, Mr Ng added.
Mr Ng also held bilateral meetings with education officials from around the world for further exchanges.
Ends/Thursday, May 25, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:40
Issued at HKT 12:40