The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government plans to allocate 67.1 billion HK dollars(8.61 billion U.S. dollars) for the recurrent expenditure on education in 2014--2015 budget year, Financial Secretary John Tsang said on Wednesday.
Tsang delivered his second annual budget speech to the SAR's lawmakers at Legislative Council, stressing that spending on education takes up the largest share of recurrent government expenditure, an increase of nearly 80 percent over that of 1997- 1998 budget year.
Although a general rise in the education level of the workforce helps the Hong Kong's market to move towards a high value-added model, there remains a manpower mismatch and relatively high youth unemployment rate that the government need to address, Tsang said.
The secretary warned that shortage of manpower hampers the development of certain industries in Hong Kong. Labor shortage in the construction sector, for instance, would affect the delivery of infrastructure projects.
To ensure Hong Kong's manpower resources can meet the needs of economic development, Tsang said in the budget speech that the government has to specifically strengthen life planning, vocational education and training for the youth.
The SAR government's Vocational Training Council(VTC) will launch a pilot training and support scheme to attract new entrants for industries with keen demand for labor, under which structured apprenticeship training programs will be integrated with clear career progression pathways, Tsang said.
The 2,000 apprentices joining the scheme will receive an allowance from government and the industries. Meanwhile, the Education Bureau(EDB) will strengthen support to schools to enrich and enhance career guidance service and life planning education to enable students to realize their potential.
In compliance with the government's last budget, the Task Force on Manpower Development of the Retail Industry was set up to study the outlook of the retail industry and its manpower demand and supply.