Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen poses for a photo during an exclusive interview with China Daily in Hong Kong, Nov 15, 2022. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is committed to raising a new generation of young people who have a global perspective, aspiring mindsets, and positive thinking, and who can unleash their full potential to contribute to the city and the country.
Alice Mak Mei-kuen, Hong Kong secretary for home and youth affairs, made the remarks in an interview with China Daily.
Mak said the government has formulated a slew of plans to help Hong Kong young people develop, including drawing up the city’s first Youth Development Blueprint, engaging more young people in public and political affairs, and strengthening cooperation with the Chinese mainland.
Ma said the development of Hong Kong’s young people is one of her priorities as the secretary for home and youth affairs for the next five years.
Alice Mak Mei-kuen, Hong Kong secretary for home and youth affairs, said the government has formulated a slew of plans to help Hong Kong young people develop, including drawing up the city’s first Youth Development Blueprint, engaging more young people in public and political affairs, and strengthening cooperation with the Chinese mainland
Mak joined the government as the head of the newly structured Home and Youth Affairs Bureau, taking on youth development in her portfolio.
Mak and her team are close to put the finishing touches on the city’s much-awaited first blueprint of youth development, which is seen as the action plan for the city to provide hope to the city’s young people, who are inundated by high housing prices, the inability to climb up the social ladder, and cramped living spaces.
The blueprint is expected to be released by the end of year.
ALSO READ: SAR youth welcomes integration strategies
“We are going through the opinions collected from several rounds of public consultations and working with other policy bureaus to see what can be included in the blueprint,” Mak said.
“Youth policy alone can’t say it all for youth development. There are many contents in the Policy Address that are of salience to youth development. To name a few: culture, innovation and technology and investment,” Mak said.
The government will actively diversify Hong Kong’s economy, with greater efforts, to create a wealth of opportunity for the young generation, she continued.
“I think young people can see opportunity if they read the whole Policy Address,” Mak said.
Another approach to better engaging the youngsters is through the Youth Participation Initiative, to allow them to give full play to their strength and involvement in public affairs.
Under the plan, the bureau will expand the Member Self‑recommendation Scheme for Youth (MSSY), tripling the number of participating advisory committees from around 60 to no fewer than 180 within five years.
ALSO READ: 85% of HK youth under GBA program working on mainland
Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen speaks to China Daily during during an exclusive interview in Hong Kong on Nov 15, 2022. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
The Home and Youth Affairs Bureau will designate two new committees on district affairs in all 18 Hong Kong districts for young people to join by self-nomination. The two committees, one on youth development and civic education and the other on youth-community building, will open about 20 percent of its seats to young people
The MSSY was created in hope of providing opportunities for young people to participate in public affairs and to encourage those aged 18 and 35 to join government advisory bodies.
Five phases of the MSSY had been launched by September, with over 8,200 applications being received. Through the program, about 480 young people have been appointed to the government’s advisory and statutory bodies.
In addition, the bureau will designate two new committees on district affairs in all 18 Hong Kong districts for young people to join by self-nomination. The two committees, one on youth development and civic education and the other on youth-community building, will open about 20 percent of its seats to young people.
This measure will let young people know more about the operation of government departments and the policy formulation process, familiarize them with the community, and encourage them to make proposals for governance. What’s more, it fully plays the newly built bureau’s advantage of combining youth work and community work, Mak said.
Besides, the government will continue to maintain close contact with the Chinese mainland to integrate Hong Kong youths into the country’s development, Mak said.
Over the past few years, through the bureau, about 70,000 young people have participated in various Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area collaboration programs, including internship and exchange programs, Mak said.
For example, the bureau has launched the Funding Scheme for Youth Internship to provide sponsorship to non-governmental organizations in organizing internship programs in the mainland, aiming to enable young people to gain a deeper understanding of the labor market, work culture, and career prospects in the mainland.
READ MORE: 8 measures for HK, Macao youth to join national development
Under this Funding Scheme, the bureau further launched the Guangdong-Hong Kong Internship Programme, which covers all nine mainland cities of the GBA, benefiting around 1,000 young people.
Once the pandemic has improved, the government will continue to enhance and expand these programs to facilitate young people’s internships, work, and starting new businesses in the mainland cities of the GBA, Mak said.
Mak said that the government is strengthening ties with youngsters who have participated in these programs and mobilizing them to promote these programs to their peers.