28 October 2016
In this year's Policy Address, rather than taking on our young people, Leung Chun-ying (center) showed he is trying to help them. Photo: HKEJ
In this year's Policy Address, rather than taking on our young people, Leung Chun-ying (center) showed he is trying to help them. Photo: HKEJ

How Leung did a U-turn in his approach toward young people

In his Policy Address last year, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took a highly confrontational stance against the young people of Hong Kong.

He lambasted Undergrad, the official periodical of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union, for advocating separatist ideas.

This year, however, Leung did a complete about-face in his Policy Address.

In his remarks on youth policy, he proposed numerous measures to provide young Hongkongers with new job opportunities and enhance their career prospects.

Apart from the highly publicized proposals on promoting the tech industry, there are three new measures that are equally noteworthy:

First, in paragraph 13 of his Policy Address, Leung proposes that the Airport Authority establish a civil aviation academy to nurture local and regional aviation management talent in an attempt to further strengthen Hong Kong’s status as a global aviation hub.

I believe it is a very good idea, as technical schools of this kind that offer courses in highly specialized employment-preparation skills will prove much more helpful in boosting our young people’s career prospects than the general associate degree courses offered by community colleges that have already become a dime a dozen.

Second, in paragraph 16, he says the MTR Corp. Ltd. (00066.HK) will set up an academy to train personnel in rail management and operations to raise the overall quality of local and regional rail services in the long run.

I think the potential job opportunities this academy can provide for our young people are enormous.

As China is aggressively exporting its high-speed rail technologies to the rest of the world, the countries that have bought China’s railroad system might look to Hong Kong to provide them with the skill and talent to run their railroad networks, as over the decades our city has earned a world-class reputation in managing citywide railway networks.

In time, the academy may develop into one of the world’s top training institutions for railway management personnel.

Lastly, in paragraph 191, the chief executive vows to provide about 1,000 additional permanent posts for teachers at the “Graduate Master/Mistress” rank in our secondary schools from the 2016/17 school year onward.

This measure can provide hope for young teachers who have been stuck in a cycle of short-term job contracts for years and who are highly discontented with their heavy workload and unequal pay.

The measure can help stabilize and motivate our teachers by providing them with job security.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan. 20.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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