Tycoon Li Ka-shing’s charity will give HK$5,000 cash to students in remote districts sitting the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination in 2018.
The Li Ka Shing Foundation, under a pilot scheme called “Decide Well, Spend Wisely”, offered the same financial support to this year’s DSE candidates living in Yuen Long and the outlying islands, including Lantau, Cheung Chau, Lamma and Peng Chau. Its aim was to help them be in a better position to prepare for the public exam.
The foundation was set up in 1980 to manage the tycoon’s charitable donations.
Next year, the scheme will also cover candidates living in Tuen Mun. A total of 10,000 candidates in 91 schools in all districts will benefit.
The foundation interviewed 4,244 Form Six students who received the funding last year. They found that 70 per cent of the DSE candidates spent their money on paying exam fees, buying supplementary exercise books and going to tutorials. The rest of the interviewees said they saved it, used it for family expenses, shopping or travel. Ben Lo Ng-shuen, 18, from Yuen Long Merchants Association Secondary School said he gave it all to his family.
The foundation has said most participants knew how to spend their money wisely and took responsibility for their own choices. It has also hired a consultancy firm to study the scheme’s impact on students – in particular their personality and their relationships with their family.
This year’s SCMP Student of the Year (Community Contributor) winner Shiu Cheuk-wing told Young Post today that the scheme would be beneficial to students in need of financial assistance.
“I didn’t receive it last year, but it’s good to see the scheme has been extended to Tuen Mun. It means students in my school will benefit,” said the 18-year-old student from Madam Lau Kam Lung Secondary School of MFBM in Tuen Mun. “Family expenses play a big part in where money gets spent, which means some students can’t go to tutorials or buy books to prepare for their exams. Many have to work part time to support their family. The scheme can help students focus more on their studies.”
CUHKFAA Thomas Cheung Secondary School principal Ng Tak-kay has welcomed the scheme, but said he hopes there will be programmes teaching students how to spend the money. “HK$5,000 cash is a lot. We should teach students how to manage their finances. It’s okay if they use it to pay exam fees, but they shouldn’t be using it on luxury goods,” he added.