National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang urged Macau’s young people to nurture “three hopes”, urging them to link their goals to the nation’s development, learn more about the country’s history and achievements, and be the inheritors of the “one country, two systems” principle.
Zhang made the remarks when he attended a symposium with about 100 representatives from the education sector and students from tertiary education institutions in the ballroom of the University of Macau’s (UM) Guest House, which was the last stop on his three-day visit.
Stressing that the central government is very concerned about Macau’s educational development, Zhang suggested young people follow the lead of Dr Sun Yat-sen, dream big and make a connection between their goals and the future of the nation and Macau.
According to the Macau Post Daily, he added that young people should be patriotic and determined to contribute to the country and Macau.
Moreover, Zhang suggested young people learn more about the nation’s history and be proud of being Chinese.
Pointing out that many foreigners looked down on Chinese in the past, while China was now the world’s number-two economy, Zhang said young people should learn more about the nation’s achievements resulting from its economic reforms.
Zhang also said young people should cherish Macau’s good learning environment and gain as much knowledge as possible, so that they can be the inheritors of the principle of “one country, two systems” and pass the principle from one generation to another.
During the symposium, Zhang repeated several times that “Macau’s achievements have ‘attracted worldwide attention’ since its return to the motherland”. He also gave some figures as examples, such as the city’s huge fiscal reserves and gross domestic product (GDP), pointing out that Macau’s economy has improved. “These figures show that… ‘one country, two systems’ is successful,” Zhang said.
Zhang also had some words for teachers. He said: “You know, children don’t listen to their parents but they do listen to their teachers,” adding it showed how important and influential a teacher’s role is in children’s lives. He said teachers ought to develop the moral values of their students and pupils.
Zhang also said that educators should always stick to the right direction and lead students to build character, increase their knowledge, gain innovative thinking and serve the nation.
Zhang also urged young people to have high aspirations and link their individual aims with the development of the country and Macau, and cherish deep love for the nation and Macau, as well as to aspire to serve both.
During the symposium, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On underlined that the local government is allocating more resources to the development of education and young minds.
Pointing out that his government has recently launched a raft of policies to enable more Macau pupils to continue their studies in reputable higher education institutions in the mainland, Chui said the policies played an influential role in cultivating talents.
A total of six educators and students addressed the symposium. Macau Polytechnic Institute (IPM) President Lei Heong Iok urged the local government to cultivate talents in order to increase the city’s competitiveness while Keang Peng School Principal Lai Sai Kei echoed one of Zhang’s “three hopes”, saying that it was important for the local government to strengthen the education of Chinese culture and history.
Ben U Seng Pan, visiting professor at the UM Faculty of Science and Technology (FST), said he hoped the local government will put more resources into promoting the development of technology. Loi I Weng, a teacher at Hou Kong Middle School, said she thought teachers needed to improve themselves to raise the level of the educational attainment of their pupils.
Two student leaders also addressed the symposium. Darren Leong Keng Lon, the president of the UM Students’ Union Presidium of the General Assembly, said students should care more about social issues, whereas Joe Lei Sio Chou, the president of the General Association of Chinese Students of Macau, said he hoped there will be more exchanges between local and mainland students.
According to a statement by the Government Information Bureau (GCS), Zhang visited the University Gallery before attending the symposium. He was briefed by Peter Lam Kam Seng, who chairs the UM University Council, about the overall planning, history and development of the university. Zhang also visited two state key laboratories during his nearly 2-hour tour of the campus on Hengqin Island.