117. We will step up the promotion of STEAM education "for all", "for fun" and "for diversity" in primary and secondary schools, building a solid foundation for students in support of our direction of promoting I&T development in Hong Kong. We will:
promote learning "for all" – More learning elements of I&T will be incorporated in the curriculum, with the aim of at least 75% of publicly-funded schools implementing enriched coding education at the upper primary level and introducing I&T elements such as Artificial Intelligence in the junior secondary curriculum by the 2024/25 school year;
strengthen leadership and co-ordination – Starting from the current school year, all publicly-funded primary and secondary schools are required to designate co-ordinators to holistically plan STEAM education within and beyond the classroom, and starting from the next school year, to organise or arrange students to participate in quality STEAM activities every year; and
enhance professional training – At least 75% of the publicly-funded primary and secondary schools should arrange their teachers to undergo professional training on STEAM within two school years.
118. The Government staunchly encourages the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities to enhance the quality of programmes for building a strong pool of talents. In the coming five years, our target is that 35% of their students will be studying STEAM subjects and 60% will be studying subjects relevant to Hong Kong's development into the "eight centres" in the 14th Five-Year Plan.
119. We will gradually increase the number of UGC-funded research postgraduate (RPg) places by about 1 600, from some 5 600 at present to 7 200 in the 2024/25 academic year. This, together with the gradual uplift of the over-enrolment ceiling of RPg places from 70% to 100% from last year onward, will increase the number of RPg places by more than 50%.
120. To attract more outstanding students along the Belt and Road to pursue their studies or career in Hong Kong, we will collaborate with institutions to promote the Belt and Road Scholarship to countries outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The subsidy levels of the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme will also be increased starting from the current academic year, with the introduction of a new subsidy item for travelling expenses, etc.
121. Moreover, to ease the financial burden of loan repayers under the student financial assistance schemes for local post-secondary students, the Government will extend the current interest-free deferral of loan repayment for another year until 31 March 2025.