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Attending the launch ceremony of Centum Youth

This afternoon, I attended the launch ceremony cum youth sharing session of Centum Youth, making contact with some 4 000 students from over 30 secondary schools either face-to-face or through live broadcast. The theme of the sharing session was "life planning for secondary students".

Implementing life planning education is one of the initiatives that I proposed in this year's Policy Address. From the 2014/15 school year, public sector schools operating classes at senior secondary levels are provided with an additional recurrent grant equivalent to the salary of a graduate teacher to introduce more life planning education elements.

At the sharing session, the first question from the students was whether the selection of subjects in Secondary 4 would limit their future development. I told them that there would still be a lot of options available in future as long as they had a clear direction. I encouraged them to consider the rest of the world when planning their lives, but especially to think about the Mainland – a market with great potential just across the boundary.

The students also showed great interest in current affairs. Quite a few of them raised questions about universal suffrage and constitutional reform. I emphasised the fact that Hong Kong, as a free and pluralistic society, is a place where people can hold different opinions, but also that they should get the facts right. I then quoted the relevant provisions and annexes of the Basic Law to explain to them the legal basis for implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong in 2017. I also mentioned that we would soon launch the second stage of public consultation on constitutional reform, which would have a great bearing on the detailed arrangements for implementing universal suffrage.

Near the end of the sharing session, a student presented a watercolour she had painted for me on behalf of the organiser. She told me that the painting, with Bauhinia as the theme, expressed her hope for Hong Kong's future: Hong Kong people, sharing the same roots and the same vision, would grow ever stronger, creating a brighter and more prosperous future. I believe that this is the hope of all Hong Kong people, including me. The students I met today are enthusiastic and intelligent. I sincerely hope that they will develop successful life plans for themselves and will have the chance to go to the polling stations in 2017 to elect the Chief Executive through "one person, one vote".

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September 25, 2014