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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:17pm

Hong Kong Budget 2013

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah delivered his sixth budget speech on February 27, 2013, in which he unveiled HK$33 billion worth of relief measures and forecasted a surplus of about HK$64.9 billion for the 2012-13 financial year. Economic growth was expected to come in 1.5 to 3.5 per cent in 2013.

NewsHong Kong

New scholarships meant for students eyeing teaching, Eddie Ng says

HK$480m budget measure will favour people set to study English or early childhood learning

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 March, 2013, 3:58am

A new HK$480 million initiative to sponsor top students in their overseas studies is aimed at applicants with an eye to a teaching career, the education chief says.

Those who intended to read English or early childhood education would get priority in the selection, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said.

Ng was responding to criticism, including from University of Science and Technology president Professor Tony Chan Fan-cheong, that the new scholarships were too narrow in scope.

Candidates who picked subjects outside the government's priority areas might get a chance to clinch a scholarship, provided they planned to teach after they returned, Ng said yesterday.

"The scholarships target students who complete the Diploma of Secondary Education examination next year," he said. "They need to have outstanding academic achievements, and at the same time regard education as their lifelong career."

On Wednesday, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced in his 2013-14 budget that the Government Scholarship Fund would get a fresh injection of HK$480 million.

Successful applicants will each get up to HK$300,000 a year to take degree courses or teacher training programmes "at prestigious overseas universities". Each year the fund will select about 20 scholars, who must return to Hong Kong upon graduation and take up a teaching role for at least two years.

Lawmakers and industry professionals were critical of the measure. Chan agreed it could boost the quality of education, but said the planned number of awards was far from sufficient. He called for more long-term investment in education.

"Why must the applicants study English or do their degrees overseas? If the government relaxes the criteria and sponsors those who study other subjects, more people can benefit."

New People's Party lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun said returning scholars should not be forced to take up teaching. "It's not only the education sector that needs outstanding students."



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This article is now closed to comments

The problem with this elitist overseas scholarship approach is that large sums of taxpayer money is going to be spent on a few lucky people, many of whom are likely to leave the HK education sector after a few years. This begs the question: how many scholarship students will stay within the HK education system? I reckon it will be less than 50%. Thus the overall benefit to HK society is likely to be minimal.
A far better approach would be to recruit more foreign trainers to teach trainee teachers in HK. Many more students would benefit and thus the overall benefit to HK society would be greater.
It is a good start. Have the scholarships conditioned with a fixed number of years in teaching that subject to penalty when fail. Hope the scheme will pick the right students and future teachers.


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