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Hong Kong can break the cycle of poverty with self-financed degree subsidy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2018, 2:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2018, 2:38pm

I refer to the letter, “How child workers in the Asia-Pacific battling safety risks and poverty can be protected with education” (April 27).

Education opens a path to success for people who are not born into well-off families by equipping them with knowledge and expertise that makes them employable.

Moreover, a person without proper schooling or formal training may lack the intellectual capacity to make sound financial decisions, which can result in poor investments or bad spending habits that prolong poverty. 

Higher education is also a major driver of economic competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. The government of Singapore, for example, invests heavily in post-secondary education. 

Hong Kong government launches HK$48 million school book funding

However, some youngsters may not be able to afford university tuition fees. The Hong Kong government’s non-means-tested subsidy scheme thus can give less well-off pupils the opportunity to receive further education. Instead of giving the money directly to pupils, self-funded institutions will receive around HK$30,000 for each student enrolled.

Apart from education, job creation is also essential to alleviating poverty. However, Hong Kong’s economy does not seem to have been able to create jobs requiring college-level skills as fast as the students would wish. 

It is hoped that more jobs will be created for fresh graduates in the coming years to bail young people out of intergenerational poverty. 

Melody Ho, Tseung Kwan O