The Hong Kong government will be provide a one-off grant of HK$2,000 to each student in need. The measure, announced in Wednesday’s budget, will involve an expenditure of around HK$740 million.

In Financial Secretary Paul Chan’s second budget speech, he pledged HK$2 billion for “quality education” – which included initiatives involving the professional development of teachers and support for kindergartens.

The amount is in addition to HK$5 billion for education previously announced by the Carrie Lam administration as she took office.

Hong Kong primary school students. File Photo: GovHK.

“Talents are essential elements for economic development and social progress. The government must invest heavily in nurturing talent; provide diversified learning, training and development opportunities; and create employment and business start-up opportunities with good prospects for our young people,” Chan said.

HK$170 million has been announced to regularise a pilot scheme for exchange programmes between schools in Hong Kong and mainland China, under which schools will receive HK$150,000 per annum.

See also: Budget 2018: Hong Kong announces 10,000 free tickets to Ocean Park for primary and secondary school students

The government is also expected to spend HK$26 million for students with care needs, increasing nursing support of schools for children with physical and intellectual disabilities, as well as those with visual or hearing impairments.

Photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

HK$800 million has been announced for a fund for the development of gifted students, while another HK$800 million will go towards increasing the number of government scholarships to encourage the academic and non-academic performance of students.

The government will pay the examination fees for students sitting the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination in 2019 – involving an expenditure of around HK$180 million.

It will allocate HK$2 billion for installing lifts in public sector schools in order to ensure barrier-free campuses.

Hong Kong will also set aside HK$1 billion for an upcoming Youth Development Commission chaired by the Chief Secretary to “promote youth development in a more holistic manner and address young people’s concerns about education, career pursuit, home ownership, public policy discussion and debate and participation in politics.”

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.