26. On the development of education services, our objective is to enhance Hong Kong's status as a regional education hub, boosting Hong Kong's competitiveness and complementing the future development of the Mainland. As announced earlier, we have allocated four greenfield sites to four operators for international school development. Looking forward, we will explore the possibility of allowing Mainland senior secondary students to study in Hong Kong. For example, we may allow them to take short-term courses offered by our degree-awarding tertiary institutions, or pursue senior secondary education at non-public schools in Hong Kong.
27. In recent years, the Government has introduced a series of measures to internationalise our schools and institutions. As a result, the number of non-local students in Hong Kong reached 9 200 in the 2008-09 school year, representing a rise of 16% over the previous year. We will consider further relaxing the relevant requirements by, for example, allowing Mainland students to pursue studies in non-local programmes at degree level or above in Hong Kong. Apart from targeting Mainland students, we will encourage our higher education institutions to step up exchange and promotion in Asia. An increase of non-local students will provide a more international environment for local students to broaden their horizons.