Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Home Affairs
The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
Submission on the Formulation of the Youth Policy (2) -
The Challenges in Youth Development
1.1 On 19 January 1998, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) presented to the PLC Panel on Home Affairs a paper entitled 廍ubmission on the Formulation of the Youth Policy? In it, we have expressed our opinions on various subjects such as the functions of the youth policy, the principles and methods of its formulation, the way in which the Charter for Youth (the Charter) and the youth policy complement each other and the role played by the Commission on Youth. HKCSS suggests that the Government should formulate, on the basis of the Charter, a set of concrete youth policies which are far-sighted and concrete, having regard to the social, political and economic situation in the foreseeable future, so as to fully promulgate the spirit and principles of the Charter. The youth policy could be formulated in stages and in parts according to different subject matters. Reference can be made to the Education Commission which regularly conducts in-depth studies on specific areas, publishes reports, makes recommendations and sets priorities to facilitate the implementation of policies.
1.2 This submission outlines a list of issues which will come up as we implement youth development programmes at a time when we are approaching the 21st century. It is hoped that the relevant parties such as the pertinent policy bureaux, social services organizations, the youth and all other parties could take part in an in-depth discussion in order to work out a range of co-ordinated youth policies.
2. The Growth Environment of the Youth
2.1 One Country Two Systems, An International City
After the re-unification, Hong Kong has become a part of China, while continuing to maintain its capitalist system with a high degree of autonomy. On the other hand, Hong Kong continues to face the rest of the world as an international city.
2.2. The Age of Information
As the information technology develops at a rapid pace, it has a major impact on the way of life of the people. Yet information technology could, on the other hand, have an alienating and destructive effect on inter-personal relationships. There is a need to re-adjust the relationship between those who grow up in this Age of Technology (the younger generation) and those who grew up before it (the older generation) .
2.3 The Age of Multi-Values
With the rapid pace of information technology and the cultural influences from different sources, Hong Kong has developed into a community with different values and viewpoints. In such an age of confusing values, it is an important issue for the adults to make a right choice for themselves and to help the young people to develop good virtues and to establish their own values.
2.4 The weakening of the family functions
Family is an important component of a society. By giving the young people love and care, families have an irreplaceable role to play in the growing process of the young ones. However, with all sorts of drastic changes in the society, the functions of the families have been weakening. It is important for us to give support to families so as to enable them to exercise their influence to the fullest extent on the young people despite all kinds of constraints.
3. The challenges faced by the young people
3.1 Develop the good qualities of the young people
- To promote the spiritual and physical health of the youth
It's important for us to help the young people to develop self confidence, self respect and other good qualities. Under the present changing society, it is reported that between 20-80% of young people have been under some kinds of psychological crises. It is important for us to explore ways of strengthening the education in schools, complementing youth work with education professionalism, and providing more chances for the young people to develop their talents and build up self confidence and to strengthen our support to families. All these will help to promote the spiritual and physical health of the youth.
- Encourage versatile development
People in Hong Kong seem to have been restricted to develop along a one-way path where much emphasis is placed on financial successes and examination results. Our community should provide chances for the young people to develop their different gifts and abilities. Will the Government also take into account achievements other than academic results of the young people when considering their applications to posts in the Civil Service? Versatile development of the young people will benefit the society as a whole as we would be able to train up more future leaders who would be great assets to our community.
- To master knowledge and skills so as to enhance our competitiveness
It is important that Hong Kong should train up a generation of young people who are able to grasp the latest knowledge in information technology, if we are to maintain the status as an international commercial and industrial city. The Chief Executive had stressed the importance of high-quality education as well as the application of information technology in education. On the other hand, it's important for us to formulate a comprehensive human resources policy on the training and development of the young people. In addition, the Government should invest in scientific researches and support industrial and commercial development. Such measures would serve the dual purposes of enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong and providing development opportunities for the young people.
3.2 Civic awareness under One-Country-Two-Systems
Many researches show that young people in Hong Kong do not have a very strong sense of national awareness. But the situation has been changing gradually. Young people now pay more visits to the mainland for cultural exchanges or even to undertake charitable services there. Recently, the Government has granted $3 million to the Commission on Youth for sponsoring exchange trips to China by the young people. In the long term, the Government should formulate more concrete policies to promote national awareness among the young people.
- civic responsibility
The society has the responsibility to provide an environment and the chances to facilitate the growth of the young people. On the other hand, the youth policy should develop young people into law-abiding citizens, and strike a balance between the aspirations of the individuals and the interests of the society.
- Participation in society
It is worth exploring ways of encouraging young people to participate in social affairs. Would young people's voluntary work be recognized by their families and people in the society? Would such voluntary work help their applications for jobs or admission to universities? Can the Government call for summit meetings for the youth to show that it would like to hear the voices of the young people?
- International vision
We should also encourage the young people to show concern for the rest of the world, and keep abreast of international trends in political, social, economic and ecological aspects.
3.3 To provide support to underprivileged young people
Consideration should be given to providing special support to those underprivileged young people when we are formulating the youth policy so as to enable such people to enjoy equal opportunities of participation and development. Such underprivileged young people include new arrivals from the mainland, youth in poverty and those who are handicapped.
This is our second submission on the formulation of the youth policy which follows up issues raised in our first one. This submission tries to raise certain issues which should be addressed and considered. We hope it could evoke more studies and discussion. HKCSS believes that the formulation of the youth policy, in the hope of bringing about a caring society and motivating the young people to take responsibilities, calls for the co-ordinated efforts of many different parties. The Commission on Youth has recently conducted studies on various topics related to the youth. We hope that the Commission could mobilize forces from different sectors to put forward concrete policy proposals and facilitate the implementation of such policies.