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Hong Kong youth

More than 1,100 Hong Kong young people apply to ‘be a government official for a day’

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, as well as the chiefs of other 13 bureaus, all taking part in the scheme

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2018, 7:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2018, 3:13pm

More than 1,100 Hong Kong secondary students are vying to be among 32 selected for a “once-in a-lifetime” opportunity to shadow the city’s top officials and see how they carry out their daily duties.

Applications from Form Four and Five students for the new government programme, called “Be a Government Official for a Day”, closed last Friday.

A spokesman for the Chief Secretary’s Office said it was “glad to receive a positive response” to the programme.

“The [secretariat] is verifying the applications received and will invite suitable applicants who passed the initial screening to a face-to-face meeting to be held by the end of May.”

‘No political screening’ for Hong Kong government mentoring programme

When Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung announced the scheme last month, he promised that the officials taking part would “share with the students our experience in learning and our careers, as well as personal growth”.

Cheung in his blog said it would be “a once-in-a-lifetime memorable experience” for the students. The students, roughly between the ages of 15 and 16, would need to be recommended by their schools.

Officials earlier said they hoped to choose “self-motivated” students interested in public service and possessing “analytical and communication skills”.

They also said applicants would not be judged by their political stance.

Successful applicants must attend an orientation session before the job shadowing, and they will also be asked to discuss their experiences at a “sharing session” afterwards.

“We trust the participating students will have a diversified and inspiring experience in the programme,” the spokesman said.

The programme aims to give students a better understanding of top officials’ work and also allows officials to exchange views with young people directly, according to the government.

Want to know what it’s like to run Hong Kong? Now the city’s students are going to get the chance

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, as well as the chiefs of 13 other bureaus, are taking part. Each minister is expected to be matched with at least two students for the job shadowing, held between July 16 and 27.

A member of the newly created Youth Development Commission, Nixie Lam Lam, of the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, believed the programme could show that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was sincere in connecting with young people.

“It is a good chance for young people to understand the operation of the government, and understand why sometimes it takes so long for the ministers to formulate a policy,” she said. “It is also a good chance for the top officials to try to look at issues from a new viewpoint through their interaction with the students.”