More chan­nels for youth ex­changes

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

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.

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