Higher education the key for a sustainable city, says Chui

Monday, July 20, 2009
Issue 768, Page 3
Word count: 911
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Chief Executive candidate Fernando Chui Sai On acknowledged the importance to advance higher education and said that it was the key for Macau to cultivate talents.

Mr Chui met with high school and university students at the Macao Polytechnic Institute (IPM) yesterday afternoon and discussed his political platform with the young people.

During the one hour and a half event, Mr Chui advised the students to treasure their school lives and not to do too many part-time jobs that interrupted their studies.

He also said that it is important to enter the job market, even if the job may not pay very well, after attaining the first university degree in order to acquire some “real-life experience which is very valuable” for the young generation.

Meanwhile, some students were concerned about the University of Macau’s (UM) new Hengqin campus and how the next government would use the existing site in Taipa after the relocation.

Mr Chui said that according to the opinions he had collected so far, although UM only had about 25 years of history, “it has established a very deep cultural value among Macau people who had studied or worked there”.

“Many scholars and experts believed that it has a very high value to preserve the original UM site,” Mr Chui said.

In addition, while many people also suggested using the Taipa campus for teaching purpose such as continuing education or training centres, the Chief Executive candidate said some others would like to turn it into social facilities to be shared among Macau people.

Nevertheless, Mr Chui said he learned from the opinions that the most important thing is to retain that special “cultural value” and the old UM campus, after the relocation, will be used by local people no matter for education, social activities or training.

Due to the UM’s promising future, students from other public higher education institutions, namely IPM and the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), were keen to know what plans the candidate would have in mind for them.

Mr Chui vowed that the SAR government will continue to reinforce support to both the IPM and the IFT and recognised their achievements in the past years.

“IPM had achieved outstanding results in training talents, tertiary education and founding various research centres over the past decade. It’ll attain even greater development in the future with the support of the government,” Mr Chui said.

“IFT is a relatively young and small institute. But its teaching standards and courses were acknowledged by the World Tourism Organization. Apart from land resources, after the legislation regarding tertiary education is passed, IFT will be able to launch more advanced courses and research work,” he added.

Believing talents are the most precious resources for Macau, the Chief Executive candidate said that fostering training and increasing investment in the education area will be essential and one of the government’s top priorities.

“We see that over 70 percent of local high school graduates will enter higher education institutions. Thus we want to create more favourable conditions for them to become talents who will then contribute to Macau and make it a more competitive city with sustainable growth,” Mr Chui said.

He also told the young students yesterday if elected, he will study the proposal to increase private tertiary institutions’ funding to support teaching quality.

Meanwhile, in response to a question regarding the gaming industry, Mr Chui said that Macau must have to go through the path to achieve diversification in the economy.

“If one particular industry accounts for an overwhelming proportion in an economy, it’s not a way to maintain healthy and sustainable development,” he said.

Mr Chui highlighted the cultural and creative, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition), retail and also service industries as the ones the SAR government would like to further expand.

He also said that many traditional industries in Macau need to be upgraded and undergo transformations in order to prevent them from being eliminated in the economy.

“The SAR government not only has to secure the gaming industry’s competitiveness, but also to inject resources into those four potential industries so that there will be other kinds of complementary businesses to go along with gaming and tourism and thus attain a more complete economic structure,” Mr Chui said.

On the other hand, the Chief Executive candidate in the morning held the first public hearing at the IPM which attracted about 140 people to attend.

Two more public hearings will be held tomorrow from 3.30pm to 5pm in Keang Peng Secondary School and on Wednesday 8pm to 9.30pm in the auditorium at IPM.

According to Kong Seng ticketing office’s information provided by Mr Chui’s election office, altogether 752 residents have registered to reserve a seat in the public hearing sessions.

Among the questions posed by the 14 attendees yesterday, focuses were mainly on public housing, healthcare and education.

Mr Chui said the opinions collected in the public hearings represented those from the Macau population, and he hoped that the next government will work together as a whole to solve problems and reach people’s expectations.

He also said that the achievements made by Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah over the past 10 years will serve as a foundation for policy making in the future.

In a statement from Mr Chui’s election office last night, it was said that more than 500 pieces of suggestions were collected and the team had already studied the proposals and will continue to open to different opinions.

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