118. Upon taking office, the current-term Government has pledged to increase recurrent expenditure on education by $5 billion, of which $3.6 billion has been approved by the LegCo.
119. I propose to commit an additional recurrent expenditure of $2 billion to achieve quality education. The initiatives to be launched include enhancing the professional development of teachers, strengthening support for kindergartens, reviewing and improving integrated education, and supporting schools in enhancing promotion of life-wide learning.
120. I also propose to allocate $2.5 billion for launching the eighth round of Matching Grant Scheme to help the ten publicly-funded post-secondary institutions tap more funding sources, promote community involvement and improve the quality of education.
121. Furthermore, the Government will invite the Quality Education Fund Steering Committee to consider allocating $3 billion for application by primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and special schools, through simplified procedures, for launching school-based curriculum development and student support measures, as well as the relevant school improvement works and procurement of supplies.
122. I will also make an additional provision of $2 billion to expedite installation of lifts for public sector schools as needed to build barrier-free campuses.
123. In the 2018/19 school year, I will regularise the Pilot Scheme on Promoting Interflows between Sister Schools in Hong Kong and the Mainland, under which participating schools will receive a grant of $150,000 per annum. The additional annual expenditure is expected to be around $170 million.
124. To cater for students with care needs, the Government will increase the nursing support of schools for children with intellectual disability, schools for children with physical disability and schools for children with visual impairment cum intellectual disability. Nurses will also be provided for schools for children with visual impairment as well as schools for children with hearing impairment. The additional annual expenditure is expected to be around $26 million.
125. I propose to inject $800 million into the Gifted Education Fund in 2018-19 to enhance the development of gifted students. Another $800 million will be injected into the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund to increase the number of scholarships starting from the 2019/20 academic year to incentivise students to pursue excellence in both academic and non-academic areas.
126. As the Hong Kong Jockey Club Life-wide Learning Fund is coming to an end, I will earmark $2.5 billion to set up a new Student Activities Support Fund. The Fund will continue to provide support for students with financial needs to participate in life-wide learning activities for whole-person development.
127. Since the 2014/15 academic year, we have implemented the Pilot Training and Support Scheme through the Vocational Training Council to provide quality and diversified vocational and professional education and training for young people. The Scheme will continue to be implemented in the 2018/19 academic year. I will provide adequate resources to regularise the Scheme. The Education Bureau will review the implementation of the Scheme this year to finalise the regularisation arrangements.