Talent dev't high on policy agenda

April 21, 2018

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung

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 & 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 & Road Initiative.


It is noteworthy that this year's Budget has committed an additional recurrent expenditure of $2 billion to drive quality education. This is on top of the additional $5 billion secured when this term of Government took office last July. I should state that education has all along topped the list of the Government's recurrent expenditure. It is estimated to account for $84.6 billion or 20.8% of the total, to be followed by social welfare on $79.8 billion or 19.6% and health at $78.1 billion or 17.5%. 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.


We live in a highly competitive world and we must do our best to propel Hong Kong forward and talent provides the modernised engine.


Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung gave these remarks at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Day on April 21.

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