Less than 30 per cent of local pupils say that they are interested in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), but over 40 per cent say they are interested in studying, working or starting a business in one of the GBA cities other than Macau, a survey released by the General Association of Chinese Students of Macau (AECM) showed o Thursday.
The GBA comprises nine cities in Guangdong province as well as the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions.
The association held a press conference on its premises in Rua de Manuel de Arriaga on Thursday, releasing its latest findings of local pupils’ intention to join the GBA initiative.
The survey, conducted from May 13 to May 24, collected 1,026 valid questionnaires from 13 local schools’ F1 to F6 pupils holding a Macau ID card (BIR).
The convener of the association’s Current and Youth Affairs Awareness Group, Candy Un Su Kei, said that when asked whether they were interested in learning about the GBA Outline Development Plan, 27.6 per cent of the respondents said they were “very interested” or “interested”, 52.5 per cent chose “so-so”, and 19.9 per cent said they were “not interested” or “not interested at all”.
Moreover, the pupils were asked whether they were interested in studying in another GBA city – 46 per cent said they were “very interested” or “interested”, 40.4 per cent chose “so-so”, and 13.7 per cent said that they were “not interested” or “not interested at all”. The findings also show that the respondents are willing to study in another GBA city for three main reasons – “special field of study and personal interest” (73 per cent), “career development” (53.8 per cent) and “reputation of educational establishment” (39.4 per cent).
When asked whether they are interested in working or starting a business in another GBA city, 43.3 per cent of the respondents said they were “very interested” or “interested”, 43.8 per cent chose “so-so”, while 12.9 per cent said they were “not interested” or “not interested at all”.
During a press conference about the findings on Thursday, Anita Tai Ka Peng, the association’s chairperson, said that compared to last year’s survey, the number of pupils who said they were “very interested” or “interested” in studying in another GBA city increased by 12.1 percentage points year-on-year while those who said that they were “interested” and “very interested” in working or starting a business in another GBA city rose by 9.4 percentage points.
Tai said she believed the increase was due to detailed information about GBA-related policies having been launched in February; therefore, local pupils knew more about the role of each GBA city and their future development.
In addition, according to the findings, pupils were given five basic questions about the GBA initiative with the aim of assessing their level of knowledge of the plan. Pupils who could correctly answer three of them were classified as “passed”. However, a total of 76.7 per cent of them “failed” since they could only answer two or one questions properly, or none.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the association said there was much room to increase local pupils’ knowledge of the GBA Outline Plan, suggesting the government, local schools and associations should do more to promote the plan through a “diverse and interesting” promotion strategy.
According to the survey, pupils were most interested in comprehensive information on further studies (51.6 perbcent), technological development (43.1 percent), economic development (41.5 per cent), and employment opportunities (38.2 per cent) in the GBA.