In recognition of the importance of elite athletes’ whole person development and dual career pathway, the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the English Schools Foundation (ESF) today to announce their partnership for providing a highly integrated and flexible curriculum for young athletes, enabling them to train full-time whilst continuing to pursue their studies at senior secondary level.
The MOU was signed by Dr Trisha Leahy BBS, Chief Executive of the HKSI; Mrs Belinda Greer, Chief Executive Officer of ESF; and three Principals of ESF schools, namely, Dr Ed Wickins, Principal of King George V School; Dr Harry Brown, Principal of Renaissance College; and Mr Marc Morris, Principal of Sha Tin College, with the signatures witnessed by Mr Tony Yue Kwok-leung MH JP, Chairman of the Elite Sports Committee; Miss Petty Lai Chun-yee, Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (Recreation & Sport); Mr Carlson Tong Ka-shing SBS JP, Chairman of the HKSI; the HKSI’s Head Table Tennis Coach Chan Kong-wah; and wushu athlete Shum Hui-yu.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, Mr Tong expressed his thanks to ESF for the betterment of young athletes’ education and said, “As the Government’s elite training delivery agent, the HKSI understands the challenges that talented juniors face with the dilemma of choosing academic study or becoming full-time athletes, but we think these should not be mutually exclusive. Thanks to ESF for sharing the same vision, today we can take a significant step forward to solidify the ‘dual career pathway’ concept for providing full-time young athletes a feasible secondary school programme amid their tight training and competition schedules.” He concluded his speech with the hope that more schools could join with the HKSI in future to attract more young talented athletes to dedicate themselves to sports and remain in the ranks of elite athletes, to bring honour to Hong Kong on the world sports stage.
“ESF welcomes the opportunity to work more closely with the HKSI,” said Mrs Greer. “We share a common goal and that is to support Hong Kong’s young people to achieve their best. By working together in a more joined-up way we can provide the best progression route for students to follow their interests, play to their strengths and achieve their best. All ESF schools have a strong culture of sports participation. Our students have achieved many outstanding awards in competitions and a number of them represent Hong Kong in National teams. We are pleased to have a new student enrolled to start the pilot programme in August 2015 in Sha Tin College. I am sure you will all join me in wishing her every success.”
The MOU signing was followed by a sharing session featuring representatives from both the sporting and education sectors. Mr Marc Morris, Principal of Sha Tin College, further elaborated on ESF’s ambitions and commitments to cope with full-time athletes’ educational needs. He said, as an educator, he had to maximise young athletes’ chances of education and would take special measures including working closely with the HKSI personnel, student athletes and parents to decide on an individualised pathway and design a curriculum that best suits each student athlete’s ability, interests, and needs.
The HKSI’s Head Rugby Coach Gareth Baber and Rugby athlete Dominic Lesley Lam also shared their comments on this partnership. Baber said, “I am confident that the programme will help shape the young athletes’ bright future both on and off the field. It becomes a strong incentive for them to turn into full-time athletes, thus facilitating the injection of new blood into elite sports.”
Lam, who is now studying at Sha Tin College, agreed, “I enjoy learning at ESF and I do believe their approach to education is comprehensive and now it becomes even more flexible for young athletes to strike a balance between studying and training. Therefore, I am delighted to witness the collaboration between my school and the HKSI today. I strongly encourage athletes, who are turning to full-time training, to embrace this precious and unprecedented opportunity!”
The MOU, to be commenced in the 2015/16 school year, outlines a framework to formulate flexible and individualised school programmes for junior athletes from ages 14-18 to continue their senior secondary education amid full-time training. It covers a range of collaborations such as extension of study period, as well as provision of extra tutorial, educational counselling and online study platform. The HKSI and ESF will also conduct regular and formal reviews to evaluate the progress and needs of every subject student athlete, as well as the operation of the overall collaboration.
Photo caption: The MOU is signed by Dr Trisha Leahy BBS (1st row, 3rd left), Chief Executive of the HKSI; Mrs Belinda Greer (1strow, 2nd left), Chief Executive Officer of ESF; Dr Ed Wickins (1st row, 1st left), Principal of King George V School; Dr Harry Brown (1st row, 1st right), Principal of Renaissance College; and Mr Marc Morris (1st row, 2nd right), Principal of Sha Tin College; with the signatures witnessed by Mr Tony Yue Kwok-leung MH JP (2nd row, 2nd left), Chairman of the Elite Sports Committee; Miss Petty Lai Chun-yee, Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (Recreation & Sport) (2nd row, 2nd right); Mr Carlson Tong Ka-shing SBS JP (2nd row, 3rd left), Chairman of the HKSI; the HKSI’s Head Table Tennis Coach Chan Kong-wah (2nd row, 1st left); and wushu athlete Shum Hui-yu (2nd row, 1st right).