The 2017-18 Budget
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Budget Speech

Human Capital

Whole-person Education

145.    Between 2012-13 and 2017-18, recurrent expenditure on education has recorded a cumulative growth of nearly 30 per cent to $78.6 billion, accounting for 21 per cent of government recurrent expenditure, with an average annual growth of about 5.4 per cent.  This demonstrates the great importance the Government attaches to investing in education and our long-term commitment to this area.

146.    The Government will implement the free quality kindergarten education policy from the 2017/18 school year to replace the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme launched in the 2007/08 school year.  The Government's financial commitment to pre-primary education will increase substantially by about $2.7 billion annually.

147.    VPET broadens the learning opportunities for secondary school leavers and in-service personnel, and nurtures the requisite human capital for various sectors.  The Government has allocated $288 million to the Vocational Training Council (VTC) to launch a pilot scheme which integrates structured apprenticeship training programmes with on-the-job training since the 2014/15 academic year.  The scheme aims to attract and retain talent for industries with keen demand for labour, and will benefit four cohorts of 4 000 trainees in total.  In addition, the Government has allocated $200 million to the VTC to implement the Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Students of Professional Part-time Programmes from the 2016/17 academic year, covering programmes in the disciplines of construction, engineering and technology.  The scheme is expected to benefit three cohorts of about 5 600 students in total.

148.    In order to nurture talent to meet our social and economic needs, the Government has decided to regularise the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors from the 2018/19 academic year to subsidise students to undertake designated self-financing undergraduate programmes.  The number of subsidised places will increase from about 1 000 per cohort to 3 000.  Current students of the designated programmes will also receive the subsidy from the 2018/19 academic year.  It is expected that about 13 000 students will benefit from the scheme each academic year, involving an expenditure of about $850 million per year.

149.    Furthermore, the Government has established the $1 billion Qualifications Framework (QF) Fund to promote the development and implementation of QF, with a view to continuously enhancing the overall quality and competitiveness of the local workforce.  We are actively pursuing opportunities for co-operation with other countries or places in the development of QF.  The Education Bureau is conducting comparability study of QFs with relevant authorities in New Zealand, Scotland and Ireland.  Such international co-operation can facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications and enhance the mobility of our workforce.

Continuing Education

150.    The Continuing Education Fund (CEF) subsidises adults with learning aspirations to pursue continuing education and training.  So far, injections into the CEF have totalled $6.2 billion.  I propose to inject an additional $1.5 billion into the CEF in 2017-18.  We will also consider various measures to enhance the operation of the CEF.  In addition, we will raise the tax deduction ceiling for self-education expenses from $80,000 to $100,000, with a view to promoting life-long learning and maintaining a quality workforce.

Youth Development

151.    To nurture young people as future leaders with vision, creativity, leadership and a sense of commitment, we have been actively advocating a culture of multi-faceted excellence and providing additional resources to implement various youth development initiatives in recent years.  In 2017-18, I will inject $200 million into the Multi-faceted Excellence Scholarship to support local students who excel in areas other than academic performance, for example sports, arts or community services, to pursue undergraduate studies, in a bid to promote multi-faceted excellence.  I will also allocate an additional $100 million to expand the International Youth Exchange Programme so as to encourage young people to increase their global exposure and broaden their international horizons.



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Last revision date : 22 February 2017