MOP14 million to boost locals’ competitiveness

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Issue 948, Page 3
Word count: 567
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) is investing 14 million patacas this year to sponsor local non-profit organisations to open training courses.

Chief of the DSEJ continuing education department Ao Kam Meng said yesterday 80 percent of the sponsorship will go to professional skills courses or courses that can enhance residents’ quality of life, with an aim to boost locals’ overall competitiveness.

The Continuing Education Funding Scheme provides sponsorships to Macau’s non-profit making education institutes, community organisations or programs related to community or family education authorised by the DSEJ, to introduce various training courses for local residents.

Students who sign up for no more than two of the sponsored courses in a semester and achieve a 75 percent attendance rate will be eligible to get an immediate refund of maximum 80 percent of the tuition fees upon completion of the studies.

Sponsorship is allocated per semester which lasts half a year.

The latest round of applications (to be submitted by interested organisations) will begin in March for courses held between July and December this year.

The next round of applications will open in September for courses held from January to June of the following year.

According to DSEJ, in the first half of this year, 47 institutes have received funding amounting to nearly seven million patacas to hold 1,099 training programs, offering 13,835 places for locals.

The bureau is also planning to offer another seven million patacas for the second half of this year.

According to Ao, the sponsorship amount in the first year of implementation was around 1.78 million patacas (from September to December in that year only), then it jumped to nine million patacas in 2008 and over 10 million patacas in 2009.

The 14 million pataca funding for the whole year 2010 represents an increase of 30 percent against 2009.

By far 60 organisations and institutes have joined the funding scheme since it was launched in 2007 and some 4,300 training courses were held, creating nearly 55,000 learning opportunities with a total sponsorship amount exceeding 28 million patacas.

The training covered a wide range of topics including computer, language, administration, finance, business management, liberal arts, physical health as well as cultivation of personal quality.

Ao said lifelong learning is a long-term goal and will take a significant number of years as well as joint efforts of multiple departments in order to outline a comprehensive lifelong learning plan.

In the meantime, he said the DSEJ has been working on enhancing the funding scheme’s effectiveness and therefore, the bureau is encouraging organisations to open courses that can be linked to professional certification exams or language proficiency tests.

“Through this scheme we strive to enhance residents’ quality of life and professional skills so that they can be at a better position in the job market,” Ao said.

“We hope to create a community learning network and lifelong learning atmosphere in society.” he added.

The bureau also has plans to gradually integrate community learning resources and expand the sponsorship coverage and training types of the funding scheme in the future.

On the other hand, DSEJ will host an activity day from 3pm to 6pm on February 28 at Tap Seac Square where locals can sign up for different training courses on the spot.

To promote reading habits a number of major book shops in Macau will offer discounts on book purchases from February 28 to March 6.

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