More channels for youth exchanges
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuetngor arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a four-day visit, her first as head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its government. The first place she went to after arrival is the Palace Museum in the very center of the nation’s capital, better known in the world as the Forbidden City, where she met with 15 young people from Hong Kong enrolled in the Beijing Palace Museum Conservation Internship Programme. It is evidently part of the SAR government’s efforts to improve education, which has long been a major concern of the central authorities led by President Xi Jinping, as well as Hong Kong society.
On Monday Lam visited, among other key organizations and central government departments, the Ministry of Education. In her meetings with central government officials so far, youth development has been a key topic for obvious reasons — it is one of the top priorities on Lam’s administrative agenda, at least for the next five years. She made it clear in her CE election campaign last year that education would be high on her list of policy priorities, along with economic development, housing supply and making Hong Kong society less divided. She is already working on those issues just one month after taking office as CE.
After successfully gaining Legislative Council approval for HK$3.6 billion in extra funding for education development, the CE wasted no time to explore more channels and opportunities for Hong Kong students to broaden their minds and learn more skills through internships outside their hometown. Now, in Beijing, the emphasis remains on finding opportunities for Hong Kong’s young people, besides other concerns. After Beijing she will visit a few other mainland cities before coming home. It should surprise no one that youth development will feature prominently in her talks with local government officials and business leaders throughout the trip.
Lam told reporters in Beijing on Monday that her philosophy on education is quite simple: She hopes the next generation of Hong Kong youths will have national awareness, love for Hong Kong and a world view. She added that she would call the extra funding for education “investment in the future” instead of “spending”. That explains why she has gone out of her way to seek more channels for local youths to gain knowledge and experience, particularly on the mainland, which is now the second-largest economy in the world and modernizing faster than ever. There are countless opportunities for well-educated youths to find jobs and even build careers, especially as the Belt and Road Initiative will soon open up more doors to so many foreign markets that need bilingual or multilingual young professionals.