To Strive, to Seek, to Find and not to Yield
The fundamental importance of the arts in the development of human potential cannot be overemphasized. In Hong Kong, the drive to establish education through the arts and education in the arts as the keys to future growth and to new ways of thinking about and experiencing the world really began in 1995 with the establishment of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Previously, an arts policy in Hong Kong had not been formally articulated and the various support mechanisms that were in place were more concerned with the provision of funding to a few major arts organizations than the active development of the arts on a broad front.
The establishment of the Arts Development Council gave Hong Kong an institution charged by the Legislature with a duty to plan, promote and support the broad development of the arts in order to improve participation and education in the arts so as to improve the quality of life of the whole community. The Council was given a high degree of autonomy and new funds were made available to assist it to carry out its functions. Notwithstanding this, the Council’s role was, and remains, largely advisory. Limited resources mean that the Council has to be highly strategic in its funding allocations. We can initiate projects as exemplars or models of best practice but cannot assume responsibility for the long-term, large-scale implementation of worthwhile initiatives. Responsibility for education policy is vested in the Secretary for Education and Manpower who heads the Education and Manpower Bureau of the Government Secretariat. The Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower implements policies at the kindergarten, primary and secondary levels. A number of statutory and non-statutory bodies provide advice to the government on a variety of issues.
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