Speech at Panel on Education

III. Briefing by the Secretary for Education on the Chief Executive’s 2023 Policy Address

Develop Hong Kong into an international education hub

Members considered that the Administration should enhance the support to non-local students to attract them to pursue studies in Hong Kong in order to develop Hong Kong into an international education hub. Apart from constructing more student hostels, some Members enquired whether the Administration would help students from the Mainland and the Belt and Road countries take up internship or employment according to the Immigration Regulations.

The Administration advised that in addition to hardware considerations such as hostel facilities, universities would organize various activities to take care of the well-being of non-local students and facilitate their integration on campuses. The Education Bureau (“EDB”) would communicate with the relevant departments to explore possible relaxations to the immigration and employment restrictions for non-local students to take up internship and employment opportunities during their stay in Hong Kong.

There was worry that the expenditure on education would tilt towards post-secondary education with the relaxation of the non-student quota of publicly-funded post-secondary institutions. As non-local students could begin their academic journey in Hong Kong at the secondary school level rather than post-secondary institutions, some Members enquired how EDB could ensure a balanced allocation of resources between primary, secondary and post-secondary education sectors.

The Administration clarified that post-secondary education accounted for approximately 25% of the education expenditure, secondary schools for 31%, primary schools for 24%, kindergartens for nearly 6%, and the remaining was allocated to special education. In fact, the development of post-secondary education would not affect the resources allocated to primary and secondary education since recurrent expenditure constituted the majority of the expenditure of primary and secondary schools.

Life Planning and Business-School Partnership

There was a suggestion that the Administration should consider collaborating with business organizations to formulate guidelines to help students widen students’ exposure and enhance their life planning knowledge in a systematic manner under the Business-School Partnership Programme (“BSPP”) 2.0. The Administration advised that relevant guidelines had been provided to schools and business partners under BSPP 2.0. EDB would promote and share the good practices with more business organizations.