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Should the ‘one belt, one road’scholarship scheme be implemented? 2017.03.10
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Patrick:I can see why people were so furious when the government proposed to fund HK$1 billion for the‘one belt, one road’ scholarship scheme. The sole aim of all that money is just to attract people from other countries.

Janice:So you think the government should not promote Hong Kong to other countries or let students from abroad visit Hong Kong? I actually think it’s a pretty good idea to broaden Hong Kong’s exposure to other parts of the world.

Patrick:But funds could instead be used to subsidise kindergarten fees, promote small-class education and increase the number of local scholarship slots. Why do we have to spend our money to aid overseas students from other countries?

Janice:The government has lots of programmes in place to aid the education sector. What the scheme would do is spend a relatively small amount of money to promote the exchange of ideas, people and innovations with important trade partners. I view this policy as an investment and the potential return is enormous considering how graduates would promote Hong Kong when they return to their respective countries.

Patrick:The point is we do not have sufficient aid for local students, especially the younger ones. We do not have free pre-primary school education, for one, and we do not have enough scholarship programmes to fund local students to travel overseas.

Janice: Locally, the current administration has implemented the pre-primary education voucher scheme (PEVS) for babies. And you are not even considering the self-fi nancing post-secondary education institutions that already exist, so the government does not need to fund all eligible students into a university.

Key arguments (Patrick)

1. Taxpayers’ money should be spent on local students first.
2. Funding is insufficient for many education sectors like scholarships.

Key argument (Janice)

1. Promoting the exchange of ideas, people and innovations helps Hong Kong in the long run.
2. Hong Kong has enough post-secondary support for students.

Glossary

scholarship 獎學金
scheme 方案
funding 資助
one belt, one road 一帶一路
subsidy 津貼
tutorial fee 學費

Did you know?

In 2016, there were 24,467 secondary school graduates, but only 15,170 subsidised university places were available. Therefore graduating does not automatically guarantee a spot in a university. However, students can consider applying for a place in any self-financing post-secondary education institutions. These institutions together provide another 9000 spots a year.

Questions

1. Whose side are you on? Patrick’s or Janice’s?
2. What else could be done with that HK$1 billion?
3. “If the government subsidised all eligible students, the self-financing post-secondary education institutions business would be greatly impacted.” Please comment on this statement.
4. Do you agree that the aim of increasing the number of university graduates has greatly affected the quality of the graduates? Why or why not?

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