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Opening remarks by Ir Tony Wong, JP, Government Chief Information Officer, at the “STEM+E Competition 2024 Finale & Prize Presentation Ceremony” (with photos)

Joseph (Prof. Joseph KOC, Chairman, The STEM+E Consortium), Eric (Eric CHAN, Chief Public Mission Officer, Cyberport), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon! I vividly remember that, at the same event last year, I was glad to engage in some exchanges with our students and local startups on their innovative ideas and solutions which were very impressive indeed. It is with great pleasure that I can join you all for this Finale & Prize Presentation Ceremony of STEM+E Competition (the “Competition”) again this year. I must first convey my heartfelt appreciation to the STEM+E Consortium for organising this Competition, which provides a great opportunity for our secondary students to acquire innovation and technology (I&T) knowledge from technology companies. This learning experience will not only enhance their understanding of I&T, but also empower them to address real-world challenges using I&T solutions. This Competition, as I believe, will continue to serve as a platform that helps to cultivate our young I&T talent. Young people are our future, we should give them every support so that they can play a vital role in the growth and advancement of I&T in Hong Kong.

Nowadays, I&T has become the main driver of economic development. The quality I&T talent with the expertise knowledge, skills and creative minds are the key to unlocking the massive potential of I&T and the successful development of digital economy. The Government promulgated the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint in 2022, setting out Hong Kong’s overall I&T development directions from the perspective of top-level planning and design as well as broad development directions and key strategies. This initiative fully echoes the need to accelerate the production of “new quality productive forces” as promulgated by the Central Government. Driven by innovation, the key to achieving “new quality productive forces” lies in quality with the ultimate goal of advancing productivity . None of these will be achieved in the absence of talent.

With this vision in mind, the Government remains steadfast in its commitment to enriching the local I&T talent pool by nurturing and cultivating our young people. On nurturing I&T talent in tertiary education, the Government has launched the “STEM Internship Scheme” to encourage university students to take full-time STEM-related programmes and enroll in short-term internships so that they may foster their interests in pursuing a career in I&T after graduation. The Government has also launched the “Research Talent Hub” programme to subsidise eligible companies or organisations to hire university graduates for research and development work.

In the primary and secondary school education, the Government has incorporated more STEM learning elements in the curriculum, including the development of the Enriched Module on Coding Education for Upper Primary Level, the Module on Artificial Intelligence for Junior Secondary Level, and the introduction of Science subject in primary schools starting from the 2025/26 school year to strengthen students’ scientific and creative thinking.

Besides, we launched the “IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools” programme and the “Knowing More About IT” programme for primary schools in 2020 and 2021 respectively, to provide funding support for publicly-funded secondary and primary schools to organise IT-related extra-curricular activities, with an aim to enhance students’ interest and knowledge in IT. In view of the overwhelming responses from schools, we have allocated additional funding of $300 million and $134 million respectively for the extension of these two programmes up to the 2025/26 school year for schools to continue to organise more IT-related extra-curricular activities for their students.

Cultivating Hong Kong’s I&T talent requires a collaborative effort among the Government, the education sector, the technology sector, and our young generation. It is your creativity, passion and entrepreneurship that drive Hong Kong’s I&T to attain the successful achievements. I would like to extend my best wishes to the organiser and all the participants of this remarkable competition. I wish you all a successful and rewarding journey in the pursuit of excellence in the arena of I&T.

Thank you very much!

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