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We will work harder for our young people:
Discussing the Policy Address with over 4 000 students

Thanks to the arrangements of the Hong Kong United Youth Association and the Po Leung Kuk, I attended a forum today at Po Leung Kuk No.1 W.H. Cheung College in Tsz Wan Shan to discuss the latest Policy Address with over 500 students of that school face to face, as well as nearly 4 000 students of other Po Leung Kuk schools through real-time Internet broadcast. Also in attendance were Mr Dickson Leung and Mr Jeffrey Lau. Dickson, whom I met only last week, is a 24-year-old chef and a member of the Hong Kong culinary team that has won champion titles in international cooking competitions. Jeffrey is a comic artist who has made his name in Japan with his comic book series Feel 100%.

The Secondary 4 and 5 students had just taken their examinations in the morning. I told them that I had also taken my examination as I had just delivered my Policy Address yesterday and attended a Question and Answer Session at the Legislative Council this morning. As I was a comic fan when I was young, I was thrilled to have a comic artist with me at today’s forum to talk with these young people. I briefly explained to the students the contents under the heading of "Nurture the Next Generation" in the Policy Address. I told them that, starting from the 2014/15 school year, public sector schools operating classes at senior secondary levels would be provided with an additional recurrent grant equivalent to the salary of a graduate teacher to introduce more life planning education elements. I also mentioned that the Government would encourage greater participation of business establishments and engage more community resources in the Business-School Partnership Programme. Also, the Government would allocate additional resources to non-governmental organisations to enhance career guidance for secondary students in collaboration with schools. The students showed great interest in these arrangements. The floor was then given to Jeffrey and Dickson, who shared their own experiences with the students and explained to them that there are many paths that we can take in our lives and going to university is only one of many ways to success.

In the middle of the forum, the moderator, Mr Li Chan-wing, let me go down from the stage to take some photos with a student who had just raised a question. He then called on other students who had questions to ask to step forward and approach the stage. More than 10 students did so. Their questions were insightful and covered a wide range of topics, including career pathways, local culture, development of Lantau Island, shortage of university places, dentistry places, the Creative Industry Fund and universal suffrage for the coming Chief Executive election. Standing in front of the stage, I answered their questions one by one and encouraged them to dare to dream, explore and try. I told them that while the stage in Hong Kong is big and wide, they should also consider looking beyond Hong Kong to seek development in the Mainland and overseas.

I must thank Mr Kenneth Fok and Dr Eric Cheng, chairmen of the two organisers, for arranging this forum, which gave me a chance to feel the energy and potential of young students. These students, bubbling with enthusiasm, gave me a very enjoyable afternoon. My governing team and I will work harder for the future of our young people and the whole community. Through various policies and measures, including the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and participation in the National 12th and 13th Five-Year Plans, we will endeavour to create a favourable environment and an effective platform for our youths to flourish and for Hong Kong to unleash its potential.

Video of the Chief Executive attending a student forum

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January 16, 2014