Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Home Affairs
Youth Policy


At the meeting of the Panel on Home Affairs held on 19 January 1998 and having considered Paper No. CB(2)866(03), Members raised a number of questions related to youth policy in general and the allocation, utilisation and co-ordination of resources for implementation of various policies affecting young people in particular. This paper discusses the principal Government policies and programmes relating to youth development, the achievements of government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in these areas in the past three years, and the way forward in the light of the latest review on the Charter for Youth now being carried out.


2. The Government is committed to promoting the well being of our young people. The Commission on Youth (the Commission) was set up in 1990 to advise the Government on all matters pertaining to youth. The Commission drew up the Charter for Youth (the Charter) in 1993. The Charter enunciates the principles and provides a point of reference for policy makers, youth service providers and others involved in promoting the welfare of youth. Being the first subscriber to the Charter for Youth, the Government has been pursuing policies which seek to realise the ideals and principles in the Charter.

3. The policies are implemented through the various policy bureaux, notably the Education and Manpower Bureau in respect of education, in particular, quality education and manpower planning ; the Health and Welfare Bureau in respect of the support and opportunities for the development of young people to be responsible and contributing members of the society; the Security Bureau in respect of programmes which seek to protect and rehabilitate the more vulnerable youths and to prevent them from becoming targets of undesirable elements of the society; and the Home Affairs Bureau in respect of its overall role as a facilitator and co-ordinator for youth development in general and the promotion of civic awareness and moral values of youths in particular. Details on how these policies are pursued are set out in the following paragraphs.


4. Our education policy aims at providing quality education at all levels so that our young people can be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and values to fulfil their responsibilities to their families and the community, and to contribute to the development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This is in line with the ideals, principles and long-term development goals in the Charter. In the last three years, a total of HK$114,808 million was allocated to the education system. Details are set out in Annex I.

5. We seek to achieve our goals in education by promoting and supporting kindergarten education; providing nine years of free and universal education up to Secondary 3 and heavily subsidised senior secondary and technical education for those who wish to continue studies beyond that; providing subsidised degree and sub-degree places for about one in four of the 17 to 20 age group; promoting the professionalism and quality of teachers; improving the learning and teaching environment; and ensuring quality education at all levels.

6. In his Policy Address last October, the Chief Executive announced a series of initiatives to promote quality education. This initiatives include, among others, acceleration of whole-day schooling for primary students in the public sector, strengthening information technology education, increased autonomy and accountability of schools through reinforced school based management and enhancement of teacher qualification. We are committed to the implementation of the Education Commission No . 7 Report which provides a basis for promoting quality and innovation; for developing essential indicators for assessing the performance of schools and for improving the learning environment. We will also continue to implement various education initiatives promulgated in the past, including those set out in the Guidance on the Medium of Instruction to public sector secondary schools and in the School Improvement Programme.

Quality Education Fund

7. The establishment of the Quality Education Fund (QEF) is one of the new initiatives aiming at improving the quality of teaching and learning by involving participation from the school sector. The QEF, established under the recommendation of the Education Commission Report No. 7, is allocated with HK$5 billion aiming to finance one-off projects that will raise the quality of school education. It is expected that the Fund will support innovative projects or pilot schemes to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Such projects should preferably have the potential for wider application in the school sector. We envisage that funding will mainly be directed to the following categories of projects :

  1. Projects for promoting the quality of teaching and learning in schools ;

  2. Projects for promoting all-round education ;

  3. School-based management projects ;

  4. Awards for excellence ;

  5. Educational researches.

8. Through the QEF, we hope a culture of quality education could be instilled in the school sector. The Government will evaluate the funded projects on an on-going basis, with a view to identifying good practices, proven new methods or approaches for large scale promotion and implementation in the school sector.

Employment situation of graduates from tertiary institutions

9 With regard to the employment situation of the graduates from the tertiary institutions, we are keeping close contact with the Student Affairs Offices of University Grants Committee (UGC) funded institutions. The Student Affairs Offices of UGC funded institutions conduct a graduate employment survey every year. The 1996-97 survey findings are being compiled and analysed. The latest available information relates to employment situation captured between July and December 1996 in respect of graduates for the 1995-96 academic year. The distribution of graduates by employment status in 1996 as compared to 1995 is shown at Annex III.

10. Over the years, the Student Affairs Offices of UGC funded institutions have been providing valuable employment service to graduating students by channelling employment information, arranging exhibitions and seminars, offering training on job interview skills.

11. The Career Advisory Service of the Labour Department promotes careers education in Hong Kong and helps young people, including tertiary education graduates, choose a career best suited to their talents, interests and abilities. Apart from the wide range of available services and information on acquiring job seeking skills and understanding job market, career activities like the Careers and Education Expo where graduates can meet potential employers, exchange employment information with visitors are held annually.

12. The nine branch offices of the Local Employment Service (LES) of the Employment Division provide employment assistance to the public including tertiary education graduates. In 1997, the LES made 1,327 placements for university graduates. The Job Matching Programme (JMP) of the LES has extended its scope of service to job seekers under the age of 30 since February 1996. There were 1,467 tertiary education graduates registered with the programme and recorded 672 placements since the launching of the JMP in April 1995.

Social Welfare

13. As set out in the White Paper - Social Welfare into the 1990 and Beyond, the overall objective of children and youth services is to provide support and opportunities to young people to prepare them to become responsible and contributing members of society. The Government has been adopting a wholistic approach to meet different needs of young people through diverse range of services. Welfare services for youths include children and youth centre service, school social work service, outreaching social work service, uniformed organisations, youth offices and miscellaneous group and community work services.

14. Welfare services for young people are mainly provided by NGOs with subventions from Government. From 1995-96 to 1997-98, the total recurrent subvention allocated amounted to HK$2,460 million. Fundings are also provided under the Lotteries Fund for capital items or special projects. From 1994-95 to 1996-97, the total capital expenditure allocated to services for young people was about HK$100 million. In addition, a total of HK$26.3 million had also been provided to operate two special projects to help young people at risk. Breakdown of the allocation is given in Annex I and Annex II.

15. The Social Welfare Department (SWD) has always encouraged NGOs to provide services to young people. NGOs can apply for subventions to organise a wide range of services under the subvention system provided they are bona fide non-profit-making organisations with appropriate management and professional capability and experience to operate the welfare services.

16. The vetting procedures involve a Welfare Service Allocation Committee which would take into account factors such as the NGO's networking ability in providing the service ; its familiarity with the local situation; its ability to deploy resources (particularly supervisory staff) to deliver efficient and cost-effective services and to improve standard of services; and its financial contribution to the project (both capital and recurrent). All applications for subventions are subject to approval by the Director of Social Welfare on the advice of the Subvention and Lotteries Fund Advisory Committee.

17. Among the different services subvented for the first time is one which seeks to help young people who might be at risk through early intervention of social work services. The Working Group on Services for Youth at Risk commissioned a research to develop a screening tool to identify such students in schools. In September 1997, we have launched a pilot implementation of the screening tool for Form 1 students in 10 selected secondary schools in Shatin District.


18. In seeking to preserve Hong Kong's social stability under the rule of law, we are aware of the vulnerability of our young people to crimes and drug abuse. The Government has devised programmes for anti-drugs promotion, tackling juvenile delinquency, protecting youth from sexual exploitation and rehabilitation of youth. Apart from remedial measures, emphasis is also placed on prevention.

19. Examples of our efforts on this front include the setting up of the Beat Drugs Funds in March 1996 with a capital sum of HK$350 million as seed money. The income generated from the Fund would go towards the promotion of worthwhile anti-drugs activities which can help reduce the problem of drug abuse, particularly among the young people, and would support community-wide efforts and programmes in the campaign against drug abuse. In the first and second batches of applications from the Beat Drug Fund, a total of HK$20.4 million was granted to 53 anti-drugs projects, including preventive education and publicity projects, treatment and rehabilitation services and two international conferences to promote understanding on drug abuse.

20. In each district, the Police School Liaison Officer visits schools regularly to disseminate fight crime and anti-triad messages. This is supported by various publicity campaigns on the prevention of juvenile crimes. In 1995-96 and 1996-97, about HK$1.3 million and HK$1.5 million had been spent on these campaigns respectively. In 1997-98, the central theme of the Fight Crime Publicity Campaign is "Prevention of Juvenile Involvement in Crime" and about HK$220,000 would be spent.

21. The Junior Police Call (JPC) Scheme was established in 1974. Its membership has expanded over the years and as at the end of 1997, there were 736,200 registered JPC members and 42,464 JPC leaders. The main objectives of the JPC Scheme are to improve communication and mutual understanding between the Police and youth of Hong Kong and to foster a Police-youth partnership in the fight against crime. In 1995-96 and 1996-97, about HK$2.5 million and HK$2.2 million respectively had been spent on the JPC Scheme. In 1997-98, about HK$2.8 million would be spent.

Home Affairs

Commission on Youth

22. The Commission on Youth advises the Government on matters pertaining to the development of youth. Discussions have been held with the Commission on issues concerning youths at risks and the draft Guidelines on Sex Education in Schools. The Commission has also carried out studies and put forward specific recommendations to the Government and other youth-related bodies in areas such as supportive systems for secondary students and working youths, AIDS and so on. The Commission has also been liaising with the various NGOs in all these processes.

23. In the past three years, an estimated total of HK$4.3 million had been allocated to the Commission on Youth for carrying out studies and activities for youth development including the International Youth Exchange Programmes. A breakdown in the past three years is in Annex I. In 1997-98, additional provision of HK$4 million was allocated for projects under the Community Participation Scheme for Organising Study Tours to the Mainland and conducting the Study on Civic Awareness and Moral Values of Youth.

Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education

24. The Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) was established in 1986 to promote civic awareness among the public including our young people. In this connection, the CPCE has been producing a range of promotional materials including education packages, teaching kits, APIs and so on.

25. The CPCE has also been sponsoring a number of NGOs to organise activities which aim at promoting civic education under the Community Participation Scheme.

26. In the past three years, the resources allocated to CPCE amounted to HK$38.6 million of which over HK$7.5 million was allocated to 177 projects under the Community Participation Scheme. The resources of CPCE were spent on educational and promotional activities for human right protection, Basic Law and general civic education, with the youth being the main target. A breakdown of the expenditure over the past three years is in Annex I.

Summer Youth Programme

27. The Summer Youth Programme (SYP) aims at providing opportunities for young people to enrich themselves during the summer through participation in meaningful social, recreational and community activities. It is expected that these activities can enable our young people to develop skills, potential and healthy interest, understand and appreciate others, and get to know the community in which they live and enhance their sense of responsibility to the community.

28. In the past few years, a wide range of activities have been organised in 18 districts under the SYP. In 1997-98, more than 15,000 activities were organised for an estimated 1.2 million participants. Resources allocated to SYP amounted up to HK$60 million. A breakdown of the resources over the past three years is in Annex I.


29. It can never be over-emphasised that the proper and balanced development of youths requires full co-operation, participation and co-ordination between Government and NGOs as well as the family, schools, voluntary agencies, youth organisations and numerous individuals in society, including the young people themselves. Towards this end, the Charter for Youth and the subscription system provide organisations and individuals interested in promoting the development of youth a basis and framework to get involved and to contribute as appropriate.

30. The review mechanism of the Charter has also helped the community to focus on the need and urgency for youth development. The Second Biennial Review for the Charter was held in December 1997. Subscribers were invited to present their reports on measures they had adopted to implement the Charter. Through the conference, they could share their experience and delineate their areas of concerns. The Preparatory Committee for the Biennial Review Conference is expected to produce forward looking proposals, based on the discussions and feedback on the areas of common concern.

31. The Chief Executive mentioned in his Policy Address that it is important to educate our young people so that not only can they master the knowledge and skills needed to make a living and to contribute to the society, but also be spiritually rich. Towards this policy objective, the Commission is conducting a study on civic awareness and moral values of youth. It is expected that this study could throw light on the values of young people as perceived by themselves in general and on the values of voluntary participation in particular. Based on the findings, the Commission will draw up recommendations for the consideration of the Chief Executive.

32. Our policy objectives are clear. We hope that the majority of our young people are civic-minded citizens with a commitment to Hong Kong, who recognise Hong Kong as part of China and understand the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. We hope that our young people are educated and capable of independent thinking who uphold strong moral principles and who recognise the rights and obligations of the individual.

33. We have been seeking to achieve these objectives through a two-prong approach. On the one hand, we have developed and followed specific policies for preventive and remedial measures for youths who are more vulnerable; and on the other hand, we have encouraged all parties concerned to focus on youth development, following the principles articulated in the Charter for Youth. In addition, we are stepping up liaison with NGOs interested in youth leadership training and in sponsoring young people on cultural exchange visits to the mainland. The Home Affairs Bureau will continue to assume a co-ordinating role and in connection with all parties concerned, endeavour to provide and sustain an environment conducive to the proper development of our future generations.

Home Affairs Bureau
February 1998

Annex I

Resources Allocation for Provision of Youth Services

Services Provided


(HK$ million)


(HK$ million)


(HK$ million)


Basic and tertiary education




Welfare Services

Recurrent subvention for youth services




Project funded by Lotteries Fund*


Allocation of Lotteries Fund for young people




Resources for SWD

- Youth Office




- School Social Work Unit





Beat Drug Fund#


(53 projects)

Police School Liaison Officer




Junior Police Call Scheme




Commission on Youth

Studies and activities inlcuding International Youth Exchange Programmes




Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education

Civic education promotion through publicity programmes and distribution of educational materials




Community Participation Scheme


(49 projects)


(50 projects)


(78 projects)

Summer Youth Programmes




Activities including community services, education & youth, development,sports, recreation & leisure, promotion & publicity, etc

(14,984 activities)

(14,862 activities)

(15,044 activities)





Notes :

1. *Lotteries Fund allocated respectively to Community Support Service Scheme (1.10.94 - 30.9.98) and Youth Mobile Team (1.10.97 - 30.9.99) was HK$16.37million and HK$9.90million.

2. #Beat Drug Fund was set up in March 1996 with a capital sum of HK$350million. HK$20.4milllion comprises the total grant to the first and second batches of applications.

Annex II

Recurrent Subvention for Youth Services



(HK$ million)


(HK$ million)


(HK$ million)

Children and Youth Centre




Miscellaneous groups and community works




Uniformed organisations




Hotline for youth at risk




Outreaching social work




School social work




Integrated teams








Annex III

Full-time Graduates by Employment Status : 1996 vs 1995

Employment status







Full-time employment





Further studies

























Unemployment rate *





Notes : 1. *This unemployment rate is defined as the ratio of the number of unemployed graduates to the total number of graduates who are full-time employed, underemployed and unemployed.

2. Figures in brackets refer to the territory-wide unemployment rates for the age group 20-29.