CE's speech in delivering "The Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address" to LegCo (9)

National Education

123. We will enhance the adoption of a multi-pronged and co-ordinated approach in schools to promote national education within and beyond the classroom, so as to strengthen students' sense of national identity and national pride, and raise their awareness to safeguard the national security of our country together. From the current school year, we will:

(i) support teaching and learning – Schools are encouraged to regularly review the primary and junior secondary school curricula and enrich them with learning elements such as the history and geography of our country;

(ii) strengthen school-based management – The "enhanced School Development and Accountability framework" will be implemented to bolster the accountability of staff in publicly-funded schools in providing quality school education and enhancing  the national education through the adoption of a whole-school approach;

(iii) organise inter-school national education activities – Government schools will take the lead in adopting a whole-school and joint-school collaborative approach to launch the first edition of "Love Our Home; Treasure Our Country" series of inter-school activities in accordance with the "National Education - Event Planning Calendar" issued by the Education Bureau (EDB) to commemorate key national events, such as the National Day and the National Security Education Day. School sponsoring bodies will also be encouraged to organise inter-school national education activities; and

(iv) enhance home-school co-operation – All publicly-funded schools will organise one or more activities relating to national education for parents every year.

124. Moreover, a one-off grant of $60 million will be provided for kindergartens joining the Kindergarten Education Scheme (KES) to organise school-based activities that help students learn Chinese culture from an early age. About 780 publicly-funded primary and secondary schools have established over 2 100 sister school pairs with their Mainland counterparts. Our aim is to increase the number of local schools participating in the Sister School Scheme by 10% within next year. We will also strengthen support for students of post-secondary institutions to participate in the Mainland exchange and experience activities.

Teaching Profession

125. Teachers are responsible for fostering positive values and a sense of national identity among students, and should therefore possess professional capabilities and uphold professional conduct. To step up the management of the teaching force on various fronts such as appointment, conduct and training, the EDB will:

(i) extend the coverage of the Basic Law Test requirement – Starting from the current school year, newly-appointed regular teachers in all public sector schools are required to pass the Basic Law Test. The requirement will be extended to cover all Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools and kindergartens joining the KES starting from the next school year. The test covers the Basic Law and the National Security Law;

(ii) promulgate guidelines on professional conduct – The guidelines to be promulgated within this year will clearly set out the professional conduct and behaviour required of teachers to be role models for students. The EDB will make reference to the guidelines in handling misconduct cases of teachers in a serious manner; and

(iii) promote understanding of our country – Newly-joined teachers in publicly-funded schools and teachers aspiring for promotion in public sector schools will be required to participate in the Mainland study tours. Moreover, serving teachers will be offered more Mainland study opportunities to understand the development of our country.

Handle Declining Student Population in a Pragmatic Manner

126. Given the structural decline in Hong Kong's student population, the Government will keep the actual situation of primary and secondary school places under review. We will adopt the target of "soft landing" and rationalise the demand and supply of school places in a pragmatic manner, with the interests of students and education quality as our priority considerations. We will maintain close communication with school sponsoring bodies and assist the sector in planning ahead through strategies such as suspending plans to operate new schools, relocating and merging schools, etc. The use of resources will be optimised to enhance education quality. The Government will continue to implement small class teaching in public sector primary schools in an orderly manner, achieving small class teaching in over 90% of these schools after two school years.

Other Support Measures

127. The EDB will continue to support different aspects of education:

(i) kindergarten education – A one-off grant of $60 million in total will be provided to all kindergartens joining the KES to assist their development into "smart kindergartens" through digitalising school administration and enhancing work efficiency. Moreover, a subsidy of $30 million in total will be provided to KES kindergartens for the creation of "healthy schools" by improving the ventilation of school premises; and

(ii) special education – Starting from the current school year, hospital schools will be provided with additional resources to provide hospitalised students suffering from injuries or diseases with a holistic senior secondary curriculum and enhanced life planning education, with a view to facilitating their re-integration into mainstream schools after recovery. The Strength-based Programme under the Project on Whole School Approach to Providing Tiered Support for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder will also be expanded to help senior secondary students with autism spectrum disorder unleash their potential and strengthen their life planning. This will benefit about 100 secondary schools.

Youth Development

Youth Development Blueprint

128. The HYAB will publish the first edition of the Youth Development Blueprint within this year to outline the principles, objectives and actions of the Government in pursuing youth development. We will:

(i) nurture a new generation of young people with an affection for our country and Hong Kong and equipped with global perspectives, an aspiring mindset and positive thinking;

(ii) give young people our love and care, attach importance to their whole‑person development, and provide them with an enabling environment to cherish a hope for the future and strive for continuous growth, so that they could unleash their full potential in society and contribute to Hong Kong, our country and the world; and

(iii) introduce a series of initiatives to assist young people in overcoming difficulties in education, career pursuits, entrepreneurship and home ownership.

129. The Blueprint is the Government's very first major document dedicated to youth development. We will implement the initiatives set out in the Blueprint and review them regularly for enhancement, so as to ensure that they keep pace with the changing social environment and meet the needs of our young people.

130. The HYAB and the Youth Development Commission are now seeking views from young people and stakeholders. They have organised and participated in over 80 related activities so far, and are paying visits to all 18 districts to learn more about the views of young people for incorporation into the Blueprint.

Launch the Youth Participation Initiative

131. We will launch the Youth Participation Initiative to engage more young people in public affairs and enhance their interaction and trust with the Government. Specifically, we will:

(i) expand the Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth – We aim to triple the number of participating advisory committees from around 60 at present to no less than 180 within the current term of the Government to enhance their function as talent "incubators"; and

(ii) encourage young people to participate in community development – We will designate two committees on district affairs and open up certain seats for young people to nominate themselves as members. Young people will be encouraged to offer their views on matters such as district works projects, youth development and civic education.

Deepen Participation of Government Departments and Civil Service Grades in Youth Work

132. I will encourage various departments and professional grades in the Government to form youth groups and organise activities regularly to enrich young people's understanding of these government departments and professions, and guide them in their career pursuits and experiencing team culture. A number of departments and institutions, such as the Civil Aviation Department, the Hong Kong Observatory, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Marine Department and the HKMA are already preparing for youth groups. In addition, the Security Bureau will enhance life planning and internship opportunities for members of youth uniformed groups under the disciplined services. It will also establish a Security Bureau Youth Uniformed Group Leaders Forum within this year to offer advice on youth development work across disciplined services and organise relevant activities.

Broaden Young People's Horizons

133. The Government will work with all sectors of the community on a variety of activities to help young people broaden their horizons, acquire a better understanding of the development of our country and the world, and develop a proper and holistic outlook. For instance, the Hong Kong Laureate Forum will be held for the first time in November 2023. Awardees of the Shaw Prize (some of which include Nobel laureates) and world-renowned distinguished local, Mainland and overseas scientists will be invited to attend the Forum and exchange ideas and experience with young scientific talents from all corners of the world. This international event will help promote local young people's understanding of and interest in science and technology. Subject to the development of the epidemic, the Government will also enhance the breadth and depth of our Mainland and international internship and exchange programmes.

134. Besides, the Government will launch an annual Hong Kong Youth Festival starting next year. Different sectors of the community will be invited to jointly organise a wide spectrum of activities for engaging the youth and helping them develop their potential, enhance their knowledge, share their experience, etc.

135. The Government will regularise the GBA Youth Employment Scheme and encourage participating enterprises to recruit and deploy university graduates from Hong Kong to work in the GBA. Besides, we will continue to provide the young people of Hong Kong with entrepreneurial support and incubation services in the GBA through two funding schemes under the Youth Development Fund, helping them to address initial capital needs for their business.

Housing for Young People

136. To help meeting the housing needs of young people and facilitate their development, we will:
(i) provide more land for the Starter Homes projects – We will again launch the Starter Homes projects in the Land Sale Programme in the next financial year. More Starter Homes projects will help young people realise their home ownership aspirations as more than 85% of past applicants for Starter Homes were aged 40 or below; and

(ii) expand the Youth Hostel Scheme (YHS) – The Government will explore ways to increase the supply of youth hostels, including subsidising non-governmental organisations to rent suitable hotels and guesthouses for use as youth hostels, with the target of providing about 3 000 additional hostel places within five years. Youth tenants will be charged rental of about 60% of the market level; in return, they have to commit themselves to providing district or volunteer services to the community. In addition, the Government will identify suitable land sale sites and require developers to set aside a certain number of flats to support the YHS on a pilot basis.

(To be continued.)

Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 13:35