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Speech by CS at SCMP/HKJC Student of Year Awards Presentation Ceremony (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the SCMP/HKJC Student of the Year Awards Presentation Ceremony today (March 17):
Gary (Chief Executive Officer of the South China Morning Post, Mr Gary Liu), Winfried (Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges), distinguished guests, teachers and students,
     What a grand morning this is for Hong Kong! Thanks to the South China Morning Post and its "Student of the Year Awards ," now celebrating its 37th year of honouring student excellence and accomplishments. Since its introduction in 1980, the Awards has put a much deserved spotlight on education in general and our youth in particular.
     Let me begin by saying how grateful I am, and indeed how grateful we all are, to the teachers of Hong Kong for their extraordinary commitment, passion, professionalism and enthusiasm in nurturing our students day after day, in good and no doubt daunting times.
     This term of Government is determined to help our teachers in every way that we can. This is why we are conducting in-depth reviews in eight key areas of education, including enhancing professional development of our teachers and supporting schools in strengthening life-wide learning.
     To this end, we are injecting more resources into education. In his 2018-19 Budget announced last month, the Financial Secretary committed an additional recurrent expenditure of HK$2 billion to drive quality education. This is on top of the HK$5 billion pledged by the Chief Executive in her election manifesto and secured once this term of Government took office last July.
     There is an old Chinese proverb, and I quote: 師父領進門,修行在個人. In English, it means "Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself". That surely is the story behind the 19 senior secondary-school students to be honoured on this eventful day. Intellectual and creative doors were opened wide by their teachers and our Students of the Year 2017 rushed in and have visibly thrived.
     I understand that the Awards attracted more than 150 schools and a total of 675 applications, which is a record high, for the nine distinct categories. Those students who are all high achievers had to be reduced to a shortlist of 120 candidates and ultimately to the 19 winners whom you will soon applaud. I trust that the judging panel comprising 33 prominent professionals from each of the different categories had a hard time in coming up with the awardee list today.
     Beyond the highest levels of academic excellence or achievement in a particular category, the winners will now serve as role models for their schools. More importantly, in good time, many will serve as the leaders and innovators whom we need in order to sustain the competitiveness of Hong Kong and ensure that our economy will continue to flourish in face of new opportunities ahead of us.
     On this encouraging note, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all teachers and schools in nurturing our future generations. My sincere thanks also go to the South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong Jockey Club - our model corporate partners - for organising this meaningful event to celebrate the remarkable achievements of young people.
     No less important, my warmest congratulations to the Student of the Year 2017 winners and the finalists for your outstanding academic achievements, personal development, and contribution to society for leading the way to a future that will, I am confident, reward us all.
     Thank you.
Ends/Saturday, March 17, 2018
Issued at HKT 11:57
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