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Friday, August 26, 2016, 19:24

78 students awarded grants to study overseas

By Willa Wu

HONG KONG - Some 78 students were awarded tuition grants of up to HK$250,000 per year on Friday by the government, paving the way for their further studies at prestigious overseas universities.

Apart from covering the exorbitant tuition fees that stop many talented students from going abroad, the scholarship will also provide some with part of their living expense.

The annual scholarship scheme, Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme (HKSES), was launched in November 2014 to support local students in an attempt to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness as “Asia's World City” in a globalized knowledge economy.

This year marks the second year of the scheme and in total 681 local students had applied for it. The selected 78 students will pursue their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in various majors, from popular disciplines such as law and engineering to less well-known ones like music therapy.

In officiating at the award presentation ceremony, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the scheme can work as a two-sided coin. One side of the coin is to nurture future talents to diversify and enhance Hong Kong, while the other side is to attract more foreign students to the city as the students who go abroad will convey a positive image of Hong Kong to the world, Leung said.

According to Leung, foreign students account for 4 percent of the total students studying in the University Grants Committee-funded universities.

Leung said with more foreign students coming to Hong Kong, local students will be exposed to dynamic and diversified cultures even if they do not study abroad themselves.

Tsang Yu-yan, 21, is one of this year's awardees. She will go to the Anglia Ruskin University in the UK for a master’s degree in music therapy – a research-based practice in which music is used to actively support people, especially children with special needs, elderly with cognitive disorder, and adults who suffer mental problems, to build connections with their inner self and people around them.

Tsang, who once worked as an assistant of a registered music therapist in Hong Kong, said the city had lagged behind in the development of music therapy. According to her, the city has around 70 music therapists and the majority of them work part-time due to the low pay.

She thanked the scheme for bringing her interest into reality and would like to work as a music therapist in Hong Kong after graduation for improving the development of music therapy. She also urged more local scientific research on music therapy to be conducted in order to promote the subject.

Yau Shun-him, 18, will go to the London School of Economics and Political Science for a bachelor’s degree in law. He appreciates the financial support of the scheme as it covers all the tuition he needs to pay, which is 18,000 pounds ($23,700, or HK$184,000) a year. He said without the scheme, his family would never be able to pay the tuition and he could not have fulfilled his dream of studying abroad.

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