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Hong Kong’s Gifted Education Fund has supported 31 programmes over the past three years, benefiting over 1,000 young learners. Photo: Shutterstock

LettersHow Hong Kong’s public funded gifted education programmes can better serve the community

  • Readers discuss the city’s gifted education programme, sewage overflow in the Mid-Levels, the redevelopment of districts with ageing buildings, and the proposed ban on plastic tableware
Hong Kong
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Launched in 2016 to nurture gifted students and unleash their potential, the Gifted Education Fund has been injected with HK$1.6 billion (US$204 million) to support the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education, implement measures recommended by the Advisory Committee on Gifted Education and encourage gifted education providers to provide quality advanced learning programmes for eligible students.

A total of 31 programmes have been launched by various institutions over the past three years, and 1,162 students have enrolled in them. Given this, the Education Bureau should provide more data about these programmes, and make the course material publicly available to better serve the community of gifted students in Hong Kong.

Since the programmes are funded by the government, the bureau owns the copyrights to the course material developed for gifted students. As only a limited number of students can enrol in the programmes, the bureau should share the course material through the resource platform at EdCity so more talented students can benefit. The bureau should also encourage these programmes to be offered through asynchronous video lessons in combination with face-to-face workshops and tutorial sessions to allow more flexibility in their teaching and learning.

The funded learning programmes vary greatly in terms of the maximum number of participants, the number of applicants and the level of enrolment. Some programmes can accept only three to five students, whereas others can take up to 235 participants. The acceptance rates of the programmes also vary widely, from 7.3 per cent to 87.5 per cent. To assess the cost-effectiveness of these programmes, we asked the Education Bureau to provide information on the total amount of funding for the learning programmes launched over the past three years, and the number of hours that students spent in each programme.

Why Hong Kong’s exceptionally talented kids need a helping hand

Regrettably, the bureau declined to disclose the funding figures, saying, “Disclosure of the information requested would harm or prejudice negotiations, commercial or contractual activities”. This is even though the aggregate data we requested would not reveal the costs of individual programmes. The bureau also said that no data was available on the duration of the programmes despite such information being collected in the application forms for funding support. We urge the Legislative Council’s Panel on Education and the Ombudsman to look into this, and ensure that taxpayer money is well spent on gifted education.

Wing Chow and Sam Shiu, Kowloon Tong

Unacceptable to let sewage flow on streets

Over the last month, we have had raw sewage, including toilet paper fragments, pouring onto MacDonnell Road. I have spoken extensively to our district councillor Jeremy Young Chit-on who has repeatedly reported the issue to no avail.


I have called the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department who told me that, although their name includes “environmental hygiene”, this is not their area and I should call the Buildings Department.

Upon calling that department, I was given a case number and the contact details of two employees. I have called and emailed them but received no response.

MacDonnell Road is a residential area with a school opposite the sewage flow. Pedestrians and children must wade through it every day. Pets walk through it. Cars drive through the effluent and spread it down the road.

Obviously, this is unacceptable. Hygiene is of paramount importance, particularly in the fight against Covid-19.

Alexandra Inglis, Mid-Levels

To Kwa Wan redevelopment is much needed

I am writing in response to the report, “URA moves ahead with plan to redevelop more than 1,400 run-down flats in older Hong Kong district” ( October 7). Although redevelopment can significantly improve the built environment in old urban districts, many small property owners have often displayed reluctance to accept these plans.

When people live and work in the same location, they develop a strong attachment to it. What’s more, compensation often proves a sticking point. Even though long-time residents and businesses are compensated by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), some of them doubt the compensation is sufficient and worry they may not be able to find another suitable place at an affordable price to continue their business. Thus, the URA often encounters opposition to its redevelopment projects.

I believe there is a need for redevelopment in old districts such as To Kwa Wan, however. Many buildings there are very run-down and could even be dangerous. One resident of the area slated for redevelopment said her building had a water drainage problem which meant they could only take showers lasting no longer than three minutes. She had placed a wooden ceiling in her home to prevent the concrete from breaking off, but the board started to fall apart due to water leakage.


If I were one of the residents of the area, I would not want to live in such a shabby, dilapidated and damp place. It is good that the government has finally managed to go ahead with the redevelopment plan that some of the residents had been looking forward to for years.

Mandy Yau, Tung Chung

Ban on plastic tableware could be supported by subsidies

I am writing in response to the government’s plan to stop restaurants from using plastic utensils and tableware as early as the end of next year and to ban their use in takeaway orders in 2025.

I support this plan because it is good for the environment. During the pandemic more people resorted to getting takeaway from restaurants, increasing the amount of waste generated.

However, since plant-based utensils cost more than those made of plastic, restaurants may pass the cost onto consumers, who may thus oppose the ban.

Perhaps the government can subsidise the use of plant-based utensils and cutlery. It could also reward those who bring reusable containers.

Icy Leung, Kwai Chung