Human capital is Hong Kong's major asset and the government will continue to invest substantially in educating the younger generation and upgrading the quality of education, a Hong Kong official said on March 10.
Speaking at a welcome reception for a delegation from Singapore on an educational exchange program, Director of Education Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said that education spending accounts for nearly a quarter of total government expenditure.
In his 2002-2003 budget, Financial Secretary Antony Leung has earmarked 61 billion (US$7.8 billion) for education, representing a significant increase of 18.5 percent over 2001 and 2002, Cheung said.
Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997 and taking account of the latest budget, total education spending has risen by a staggering 62 percent, he said.
The government has embarked on sweeping education reform to ensure that Hong Kong will continue to forge ahead in the face of a knowledge-based society and increasingly competitive world, according to Cheung.
The reform agenda focuses on five key components, Cheung said, citing components such as expanding the opportunities for education and building a lifelong learning society; and introducing flexibility, diversity and choice in the education system to accommodate individual differences and develop the potentials of the students to the full.
Under the exchange program, a delegation of six teachers and 38 students were invited from Singapore to Hong Kong between March 8 and 16. The delegates will attend classes in six government secondary schools and participate in school-based activities as well as other core activities organized by the schools.
(People's Daily March 11, 2002)