Developing Human Capital
73. Estimated recurrent expenditure on education for 2013-14 is $63 billion, which is more than one-fifth of recurrent government expenditure. It is the biggest expenditure area amongst different policy area groups.
74. A quality teaching force is the key to the quality of education. I propose to inject an additional $480 million into the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund (GSF) to set up scholarships for outstanding local students to take degree courses or teacher training programmes in prestigious overseas universities. I expect that about 20 scholarships will be awarded each year. Students who receive the awards must undertake to teach in Hong Kong upon graduation for at least two years or a period equivalent to the duration of receiving the scholarships.
75. Hong Kong is an international city. Our people should possess good language proficiency. The Language Fund set up in 1994 provides financial support for projects and activities aimed at promoting bi-literacy and tri-lingualism among our people, including programmes to support non-Chinese speaking students in learning Chinese. I propose to inject $5 billion into the Language Fund to facilitate its longer term planning.
76. In the 2011-12 academic year, nearly 500 students with special education needs (SEN) enrolled in local full-time accredited sub-degree and degree programmes. As compared with their peers, students with SEN encounter more difficulties in learning and have to apply themselves more diligently. I propose to make two separate injections of $20 million each, bringing the total to $40 million, into the GSF and Self-financing Post-secondary Education Fund to establish scholarships to give recognition to deserving tertiary students with SEN in the pursuit of academic and other excellence. I expect that about 100 students will be awarded scholarships every year. I also propose to allocate $12 million to the Vocational Training Council each year to purchase equipment and learning aids for students with SEN, providing them with psychological and student counselling services, and enhancing the support for teaching and learning.