Last week, on 7 November, the Hong Kong Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) celebrated the launch of the Enriched IT programme for Secondary Schools. More than 300 students were in attendance for the celebration which kick-started the initiative which aims to increase IT knowledge and skills sharing within secondary education across the territory.
Mr John C Tsang, the Financial Secretary, had stated at the ceremony, “Technology is the major driver of global economic developments. To sustain Hong Kong’s competitiveness, we must promote innovation and technology to build a knowledge-based economy with diversified industries.”
The Enriched IT programme for Secondary Schools has officially launched for the 2015-16 Academic Year. The programme will continue to run through the 2022-23 Academic Year.
For the Enriched IT class programme, 8 secondary schools in Hong Kong were selected to administer rigorous IT training to students whom demonstrate an interest in IT. This will be carried out from secondary two until secondary six grades.
The programme also has a secondary component which engages students through Enriched IT Activities. Each partner school will put on 3 activities each year, while other schools will help to organise 30 activities each year. These organised activities are to be carried out by schools and will work in tandem with the class programme. The aim is to instil an IT friendly space and generate interest in IT facilities.
It is hoped that the programme will inspire students to seek these learning opportunities, thus stimulating interest in future careers in IT. In the coming years, as the country increases its digital capabilities, the demand for workers with IT skill sets will increase.
The Government of Hong Kong is anticipating this demand for IT skills with various programmes, such as the Enriched IT programme. The programme thus aims to reduce the future IT skills gap, which currently exists.
Mr. Tsang said, “The IT industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors in Hong Kong. It has also been one of the three sectors with the most severe manpower shortage in Hong Kong for two consecutive years. The Enriched IT Programme is launched at the right time to help develop a strong and agile young generation for the technological development of Hong Kong.”
The OGCIO has echoed that schools are the best breeding grounds for developing IT talent. This early exposure to IT training is expected to help young students cultivate computational thinking talents.