Speech by CS at ESF 50th Anniversary Marathon (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the ESF 50th Anniversary Marathon today (October 22):
Ming-wai (Chairman of the Commission on Youth, Mr Lau Ming-wai), Belinda (the Chief Executive Officer of the ESF, Ms Belinda Greer), Steven (Chairman of ESF 50th Anniversary Marathon Project Committee, Mr Steven Szeto), Kevin (the Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, principals, students and parents,

     A very good morning. I am most delighted and honoured to join you all at today's Marathon, which celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the English Schools Foundation (ESF).

     Supported by the Home Affairs Bureau and Commission on Youth under the Large-scale Youth Programme Funding Scheme 2017, this marathon-cum-carnival is designed to broaden our youth's horizons and knowledge as well as unleash their creativity and leadership. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to ESF and its project committee for organising such a meaningful event to tie in with this Government's vision of promoting youth development to groom the future generations into leaders who are socially responsible and equipped with a positive outlook a sense of our national identity, a love for Hong Kong and an of course international perspective.

     Over the past 50 years, ESF has grown to become the largest provider of quality English-medium international education in Hong Kong, serving 17 500 students from more than 60 different nationalities. I agree entirely with the ESF's vision to bring out the best in every student through a personalised approach to learning and by inspiring curious minds. This explains why more and more local parents find the ESF a preferred choice for their children. Indeed, I noted that some 70 per cent of ESF's students have parents who are permanent residents of Hong Kong.

     Speaking of nurturing youths, the Government has spared no efforts in establishing Hong Kong's position as a talent hub. The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, proposed in her Election Manifesto an immediate increase of recurrent education expenditure by $5 billion a year. Various quality education initiatives funded by the initial allocation of $3.6 billion are being launched progressively starting from the current school year. We will continue to discuss with the education sector how the remaining $1.4 billion recurrent funding should be put to good use. We will also provide additional resources where necessary.

     As announced in the Policy Address a week ago, the Youth Development Commission chaired by me will soon be set up in the first half of 2018 with a view to examining issues of concern to young people in a holistics and co-ordinated manner. To broaden the horizons of youngsters, we will continue to actively promote overseas internships arranged by our Economic and Trade Offices, offer more internship opportunities on the Mainland, the Belt and Road countries and other parts of the world, and proactively sign more Working Holiday Scheme agreements with suitable economies. Through these continuous efforts, I am sure that we can help our young people get connected and look to a future of hope and happiness!

     I note that the energetic runners are all ready for the upcoming races. Without further ado, may I wish this Marathon a great success and everyone an enjoyable and meaninful run! Let's run for health, run for life, run for our future. Happy birthday ESF! Thank you very much.

Ends/Sunday, October 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:40