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Policy Address

Social Mobility

88.       Personal factors aside, young people may feel lost amidst the strong social undercurrents. In the 1960s and 1970s, opportunities abounded for young people to climb the social ladder. Those who worked hard stood a good chance of success. In a mature economy like ours, opportunities for upward mobility tend to be increasingly tied to academic qualifications. Many young people are therefore under enormous pressure. Those who have experienced frustration in formal education or public examinations feel particularly helpless and depressed. I understand the pressure and their helplessness. Competition is fierce in Hong Kong. Many parents make careful arrangements for their pre-primary children, hoping they can move upward through education. Such competitive pressure persists from primary to secondary and tertiary education. It seems that whether a young person aged 16 or 17 can gain admission to a university or degree programme of his choice will determine his path for the next 30 to 40 years. We can imagine how much pressure our young people have to bear.




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