HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Nearly $20b earmarked for education upgrades

This will translate to more scholarships and new public school lifts.

As Hong Kong increasingly recognises the importance of developing its young talent early for its long-term growth plans, the government is allocating a total of $19.3b to boost the education sector and equip its students with the appropriate skills to guide the city in the years to come, according to Finance Secretary Paul Chan’s 2018 budget address.

An additional $2b will be allocated as recurrent expenditure which will go into expanding support for teachers, kindergartens and integrated education whilst the same amount will also go into streamlining the installation of lifts in public sector schools to build barrier-free campuses.

To cater for students with special needs, the government is expecting to spend around $26m a year to increase nursing support for the schools of children with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Chan also plans to inject $800m into the Gifted Education Fund to accelerate the holistic development of the city’s gifted students whilst another $800m will be used to increase the number of available scholarships. 

A Youth Development Commission will also be set up in the first half of the year to address various youth concern on education, careers, home ownership and participation in politics. 

“I will set aside $1 billion to support the work of the Commission, with a view to giving young people more room to unleash their potential and more opportunities for upward mobility,” said Chan.

Whilst education starts at a young age, Chan acknowledges that learning is a lifelong process and thus, extends the upper age limits for Continuing Education Fund (CEF) applicant sto 70 and relax certain restrictions. 

The subsidy ceiling of the CEF is also raised from $10,000 to $20,000 per applicant. 

“I will further inject an additional $8.5 billion into the CEF. It is expected that a total of about 610 000 recipients will benefit from the enhancements,” Chan added.

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