Two ethnic minority students, Yashvardhan Mehra Bardoloi and Aaryam Srivastava, are among the 78 recipients of this year’s government study grants under the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme.
The awardees received their credentials from Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a ceremony held on Tuesday.
Bardoloi, the top awardee for undergraduate studies, will soon leave for the United States after securing an offer from Harvard University for a Bachelor of Arts program. Srivastava will study mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore.
The scholarship scheme, launched in 2014, is aimed at supporting local students to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in world-renowned universities outside Hong Kong with a view to grooming a top cadre of talents to enhance the city’s competitiveness.
Under the scheme, a lump sum of HK$348 million has been approved by the Legislative Council for students who have excellent academic achievement but lack the financial means to study in top-notch overseas universities.
On average each student will be granted HK$250,000 to finance his or her study per year. An additional bursary of HK$200,000 per year is available for those who may need additional support to pursue their study.
All recipients are entitled to financial aid for two years, meaning a student can get up to HK$900,000 in total.
Awardees are required to complete a specific study program and undertake to return to Hong Kong upon graduation to work for no less than two years.
A spokesman for the Education Bureau said: “Competition was keen and rigorous, with 856 applicants who will commence their undergraduate or postgraduate study in the 2017/18 academic year vying for the title.
“Apart from academic achievements, selection was also based on key considerations including the non-academic attributes of an applicant such as leadership skills and potential as well as his or her commitment and contribution to Hong Kong.”
Almost all awardees completed their formal secondary school education in Hong Kong studying either local or non-local curricula. Of the scholars, 51 will pursue undergraduate studies while the remaining 27 will take up postgraduate studies in world-renowned universities.
The disciplines that the awardees will pursue cover a wide spectrum, ranging from conventional subjects such as natural and social sciences to other specialties such as archaeology, physiology and neuroscience, as well as disciplines currently unavailable in Hong Kong such as zoology and nuclear engineering.
The contribution of this diverse pool of talents to society after their graduation and return to Hong Kong is expected to fuel further the long-term development of the city in various fields.
As the selection process is still ongoing, more applicants may be offered scholarships after Tuesday’s ceremony, the spokesman added.
The list of the awardees as of Aug. 15 has been uploaded to the HKSES website, and details of the application for the next cohort of scholars will be announced shortly.
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