Speech by CS at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Day (English only)
Simon (Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Dr Simon Ip), Winfried (Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to join you all again at today's Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Day. First of all, my warmest congratulations and thanks to the Jockey Club and its many community partners present here. I count myself as a partner of the Jockey Club as both the Government and the Jockey Club have been working closely in promoting the well-being of the community and building a better Hong Kong.
The Jockey Club has been a committed and valued supporter of the Hong Kong community. It is a powerful engine of charitable activities and a propeller of care. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is one of the world's top ten charity donors. In the past decade, it has donated an average of over HK$2.8 billion annually to charitable projects of more than 150 organisations to help empower our youth, build an age-friendly environment, promote sports participation and sportsmanship, as well as create a culturally vibrant and inclusive society in Hong Kong.
On the racing calendar, the Jockey Club Community Day is not just another ordinary horse-racing day, but an important occasion since 2005 for the Jockey Club to pay tribute to its community partners and celebrate their joint contribution to society. The theme of this year's Community Day is "Nurturing Compassionate Leaders for Better Hong Kong". It underlines the Jockey Club's commitment to Hong Kong and its dedication in nurturing on future leaders.
The Jockey Club has funded numerous education infrastructure projects to help develop talent in Hong Kong. The earliest landmark was created in 1960 when the first Jockey Club-funded school – the Jockey Club Modern School – was established. Its generous donation was later expanded to cover all levels of mainstream education and vocational training. Some notable examples include the construction of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which is now among the world's top universities, and the Jockey Club Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which is home to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design and the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation.
Hardware aside, the Jockey Club's support for developing our human capital also takes the form of targeted scholarships. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarships, which is one of the most prestigious scholarship schemes in Hong Kong. It recognises outstanding undergraduate, post-graduate and vocational students as well as students with special education needs who combine outstanding character, leadership and academic performance with a strong commitment to serve the community. Over the past two decades, the scheme has awarded $400 million to more than 500 deserving students. Beyond financial assistance, awardees are also given valuable learning experiences through, for example, leadership training at top-notch universities abroad, induction programmes and high-table dinners hosted by community leaders.
The Jockey Club also offers scholarships at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Hong Kong Campus) to support aspiring leaders in non-profit-making organisations to pursue an Executive MBA programme. This world-class programme will help empower them with a global vision and an international network, thereby building the capacity of Hong Kong's social service sector to respond to the increasingly complex social problems of the 21st century.
I have cited all these concrete examples in order to prove the determination and commitment of the Club in widening our talent pool.
On the part of the Government, talent development is always high on our policy agenda. The new high-level Human Resources Planning Commission under my chairmanship has come on stream. It seeks to ensure that Hong Kong has the right quantity and quality of human resources to meet our fast changing social economic landscapes, and maintain our long-term competitiveness and as a vibrant international city. We need to fully capitalise on the huge opportunities flowing from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative.
It is noteworthy that this year's Budget has committed an additional recurrent expenditure of HK$2 billion to drive quality education. This is on top of the additional HK$5 billion secured when this term of Government took office last July. I should state that education has all along topped the list of Government's recurrent expenditure. It is estimated to account for $84.6 billion or 20.8 per cent of the total, to be followed by social welfare on $79.8 billion or 19.6 per cent and health at $78.1 billion or 17.5 per cent. This manifestly underlines the importance that the Government attaches to investing in our future generations and human capital.
The Budget has also announced an injection of $800 million into the Gifted Education Fund in 2018-19 to enhance the development of gifted students. Another $800 million will also be injected into the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund to increase the number of scholarships starting from the 2019/20 academic year to incentivise students to pursue excellence in both academic and non-academic areas.
Building on the solid foundation laid by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Life-wide Learning Fund, we have earmarked $2.5 billion in this year's Budget to set up a new Student Activities Support Fund to provide support for students with financial needs to participate in life-wide learning activities for whole-person development.
Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a highly competitive world and we must do our best to propel Hong Kong forward and talent provides the modernised engine. I thank the Jockey Club for sharing our vision and working hand in hand with us throughout the years, come rain or shine.
Ends/Saturday, April 21, 2018
Issued at HKT 13:27
Issued at HKT 13:27