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LCQ10: Attracting outstanding students from around world to pursue studies in Hong Kong
     Following is a question by the Hon Lillian Kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Dr Choi Yuk-lin, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):
     To attract more outstanding students from the Belt and Road (B&R) countries/regions to pursue studies in full-time publicly-funded university programmes in Hong Kong, the Government has established the Belt and Road Scholarship (the Scholarship) since the 2016-2017 academic year, as well as expanded the Scholarship to cover all B&R countries and their research postgraduate students starting from the 2019-2020 academic year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of students from each B&R country/region who were awarded the Scholarship in each academic year since the Scholarship's establishment (set out in a table by the name of the Hong Kong institution offering the programmes); the total amount involved for the Scholarship awarded by the Government to such students in each academic year;

(2) whether the Government and the institutions concerned have provided career support services for those students who were awarded the Scholarship and have completed their studies; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether it has compiled statistics on the respective numbers, since the Scholarship's establishment, of students awarded the Scholarship who have, upon completion of their studies, stayed in Hong Kong for advancing their studies, taking up employment and starting up businesses; and

(4) whether it will, by drawing reference from the practice of establishing the Scholarship, introduce additional scholarships so as to attract outstanding students from around the world to pursue studies in Hong Kong; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     Since the 2016/17 academic year, the Government has established the Belt and Road Scholarship (the Scholarship) to encourage students from the Belt and Road (B&R) countries/regions to pursue post-secondary programmes in Hong Kong. There are currently 100 places per annum under the Scholarship offered to students from all the B&R countries/regions pursuing full-time publicly-funded undergraduate and research postgraduate programmes in Hong Kong. Dedicated quotas have been set aside for certain designated countries (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Mongolia) which have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on education co-operation with Hong Kong. A total of 333 students from 36 B&R countries/regions have benefited from the Scholarship since its establishment.                   
     The reply to the various parts of the Hon Lillian Kwok's questions is as follows:
(1) The number of awardees by participating institutions and places of origin of the awardees as well as the total amount of scholarships awarded under the Scholarship from the 2016/17 to 2021/22 academic years are set out at the Annex.
(2) and (3) The Education Bureau does not maintain statistics on the respective numbers of Scholarship awardees who have, upon completion of their studies, stayed in Hong Kong for advancing their studies, taking up employment or starting businesses. Nevertheless, awardees generally indicated in their applications an intention to stay in Hong Kong upon completion of their studies for work, starting businesses or further studies.
     The participating institutions have been committed to assisting through different channels non-local students in planning for their personal development, which include pursuing further studies and taking up employment in Hong Kong, after graduation. Our Scholarship awardees are among the beneficiaries. The respective faculties and student affairs offices of the institutions provide non-local students with relevant information and diversified support services, which include recruitment seminars, job-seeking training workshops, career counseling and consultation services, and mentorship programmes. They also contact alumni associations and employers of different industries to provide employment and internship opportunities for the students.
(4) Apart from the Scholarship, the Government has introduced other measures to attract non-local students to pursue further studies in Hong Kong. The Scholarship for Outstanding Performance under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to outstanding local and non-local students from the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and the Vocational Training Council. Taking students at degree or above level as an example, the scholarship offered amounts to $40,000 per year for local students and $80,000 per year for non-local students.
     Moreover, unlike ordinary non-local students who are required to pay tuition fees on a cost-recovery basis, the current tuition fees for a non-local research postgraduate student stands at $42,100, which is the same as that for ordinary local students pursuing UGC-funded programmes. Established under the Research Grants Council of the UGC, the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme aims to attract outstanding non-local research postgraduate students to pursue their PhD programmes in Hong Kong. Each awardee is entitled to an annual stipend of about $340,000 for a period of three years.
     Non-local students who have obtained an undergraduate or higher qualification in a full-time and locally-accredited programme in Hong Kong may apply to stay or return and work in Hong Kong under the Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates (IANG). The 2022 Policy Address proposes to relax the IANG by extending the limit of stay from the current 12 months to 24 months to allow more time for non-local graduates to stay in Hong Kong for job searching.
     The Government will continue to review the effectiveness of various measures and introduce new ones or enhance the existing ones whenever necessary, with a view to attracting outstanding non-local students to pursue studies in Hong Kong.  
Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:40
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