For discussion on
9 November 1998
LegCo Panel on Welfare Services
In his 1998 Policy Address, the Chief Executive stresses that Hong Kong's future depends on the qualities, skills and the sense of belonging of our young people. Specifically, the Chief Executive said, "I look to our younger generation to search continuously for knowledge, to be creative and to play an active role in the community. I encourage our young people to take pride in their Chinese heritage, yet also to develop an international perspective, seeking not only to assert their rights as individuals, but also to meet their obligations to the wider community."
2. This paper sets out the principle and direction of youth development and the Government's role in the process.Background
3. Between November 1997 and May 1998, the Commission on Youth carried out a study on how our young people could take up a more active role in building up the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and in voluntary work. The study, comprising both quantitative and qualitative surveys on views from the young people themselves and from the community at large, revealed a general picture of the civic awareness and value systems of the young people in Hong Kong and the perception and expectation of the community towards young people. The study also mapped out the direction for our young people to follow in order to realise their full potential.
4. In essence, the study has found that many of our young people hold positive values which are accepted and recognised as important by the community. However, there are noticeable perception and expectation gaps on the part of adults regarding young people's civic awareness and value systems. While it is encouraging that our young people are sufficiently liberal minded towards new concepts and ideas and are able to differentiate right from wrong, they lack the motivation to accept responsibilities and take decisions. It is clear that the community would like our young people to do better in a number of areas, particularly in relation to social and life skills.
Direction for Youth Development
5. We think that our young people have the potential to face the challenges of the new millennium and to take an active part in building up the HKSAR. In order to develop the full potential of the young people, we will on the one hand, map out the direction for the young people to follow and on the other hand, call for the whole community to take ownership of the challenge of developing our young people.
6. Our young people are valuable assets of our community and the future of Hong Kong. In nurturing and developing our young people, the Government will assume a leading role in providing the necessary direction and encouragement for the key players. We believe that every sector of the community, including the family, the school, the employers, the media and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and youth groups, and the young people themselves, will have a role to play. We will work with all these parties in partnership for the benefit of young people.
Promotion of positive values
7. We recognise that many young people hold positive values which are widely accepted by the community as such. To reinforce and encourage the young people to appreciate these values, we will seek to promote these values among the community, in particular, the young people. As these positive values are mostly enshrined in the Charter for Youth, a document which enunciated the principles and ideals of youth development, we will also work with the Commission on Youth to promote the key provisions of the Charter to the community, in particular, the parents, the teachers and the employers.
Promotion of leadership training programmes
8. Having regard to the fact that the community expects more from the young people, but that the young people in general lack the motivation to take up responsibilities and make decisions, we will seek to equip them with the necessary social and life skills and leadership training . In particular, we would devise training programmes on a structured and continuing basis so as to meet the needs of the young people at every stage of their development.
Promotion of community participation
9. We will encourage the community to join hands in developing programmes for participation of young people. In this connection, we agree with the Commission on Youth to promote youth participation through voluntary work and have already started a pilot funding scheme with the Commission on Youth to sponsor NGOs planning to provide more voluntary work opportunities for young school leavers.
10. We also agree that study tours and exchange programmes would provide young people more opportunities to interact with people in the Mainland and in other countries. Encouraged by the funding scheme introduced by the Commission on Youth early this year whereby NGOs and youth groups obtained subsidies to organise study tours for young people to visit the Mainland, we will continue seek funding to sustain the programme. On the other hand, we would expand the International Youth Exchange Programme to allow more young people to take part in the programme in the future.
Community Centre for Youth
11. We will re-develop the Chai Wan Community Centre as a centre for youth development. This central facility will act as a focal point for NGOs and youth groups to organise youth development activities. Our aim is to complete the facility by mid-2003. This is a further indication of the commitment of the Government to developing our young people.
12. The Home Affairs Bureau will continue to work with the Commission on Youth and other parties to promote youth development. The Government will facilitate youth development by assuming a leading role. This means that we would set the way forward, lay down the principle and provide support where necessary for all sectors of the community to nurture our young people in their own ways. We must avoid giving instructions to NGOs on specifics, as this would stifle their initiatives, to the detriment of youth development work. We believe that the concerted efforts of all the various sectors of the community would collectively engender an environment conducive to the proper development of our young people.
Home Affairs Bureau