(Hong Kong, September 8, 2005) St. Paul’s Co-educational College (“SPCC” or the “School”) is happy to receive an HK$80 million donation from the Li Ka-shing Foundation to support the needed expansion of its campus after its conversion to Direct Subsidy Scheme (“DSS”) as well as to establish a financial aid programme designated for very needy students. This gift will enable SPCC to proceed with deliberate speed to transform itself from a Good local school to a Great world-class school and fulfill its educational mission to cultivate a new generation of altruistic leaders in the spirit of excellence.
The Supervisor of the School, Dr. Michael H.H. Mak, said, “Mr. Li has always wholeheartedly supported the community. I believe that a donation of this size is unprecedented among donations to secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong and therefore this gift has a special meaning to us. We feel honoured that through this donation, Mr. Li has endorsed our contribution to education and has shown he is 100% confident in our School. We are very grateful to Mr. Li for his tremendous support. Mr. Li has always focused on educational development, not only advanced studies and research, but also basic education. He understands that if children gain high-quality education at an early age, this will serve them well over their lifetime.”
Mr. Li made a special effort this morning to visit SPCC personally to attend Morning Assembly and in front of 1,200 students conveyed his aspirations for the upcoming generation.
Mr. Li’s speech was entitled “The Dreamer and his Reach”. He posed an intriguing question to the students: “Everyone says that we are a nation of capable, smart and industrious people, then why are we still lagging behind most countries in the West?”
Mr. Li said he did not have an answer to his own question, but he believed that we must encourage and support our children to dream large and to reach out for their dreams, because it was the catalyst for our dynamic future.
“In this fast-evolving world, the pursuit of knowledge is after all only one factor to human fulfillment. Today, we must extend the frontiers of our children’s minds, we must let them weave their dreams not merely around life’s quantifiable achievements but to be true champions of the modern mind who are not slaves to the thinking of the past. Competition in the future will be harsh; the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of labour are essential fundamentals for survival; to excel you must nurture your own independent mind and your spirit of discovery.”
Mr. Li again urged the Government to make more strategic investments in education and provide more matching funds for private donations to lay the groundwork for future generations.
After the Morning Assembly, Mr. Li toured the School accompanied by Council members and the Principal, Dr. Anissa Chan, to have a look at the physical environment, observe classes in session and meet with some 40 senior students to exchange ideas and views on a multitude of topics.
Dr. Chan said, “Mr. Li’s generosity and concern for St. Paul’s Co-ed and his visit to the School to share with and inspire our students to work towards their dreams is indeed a great gift in our 90th Anniversary Year of the School. We are most grateful for Mr. Li’s encouragement and expectation of us. Indeed we encourage our students to dream. In pursuing such dreams, we realise we must work hard and explore and develop our critical thinking skills in order to constantly seek better answers. It is through this that we enrich our lives and through enriching ourselves, we better society and improve humankind. The Council members and teachers of SPCC are all dreamers. Our dreams revolve around one issue: how to make improvements so that our students can receive the best education possible. Only in this way, can we be sure they enrich their own lives and make meaningful contributions to society.”
Mr. Li’s donation of HK$80 million will be used towards the two different projects, one of which is the construction of a new 6,800-square-metre building to expand the SPCC campus to improve its extra-curricular and academic facilities. This newly constructed building will be named “Li Chong Yuet Ming Building”, in memory of Mr. Li’s late beloved wife’s enthusiasm and involvement in support of educational and other philanthropic causes. In addition, SPCC will establish the “Li Chong Yuet Ming Care Fund”.
Dr. Mak said, “Mr. Li believes that knowledge can reshape destiny and this is in line with what we believe to be our educational purpose. The reason our School has converted to a DSS school is so that it can provide the best quality education to our next generation and that such quality education should be for talented children from every social stratum. We particularly hope that children from lower income families will have access to such an education so that they can have a chance to break the difficult circumstances of trans-generational poverty. Therefore, we absolutely support such needy families, even to the extent of charging them zero tuition.”
SPCC has been serving the community since its establishment, whether before or after its conversion to DSS. The School is determined to uphold its tradition of serving the community by educating talented students from a wide social spectrum to become altruistic leaders. In this connection, SPCC has put into place a quota-free “Fee Remission Scheme” to provide up to 100% fee remission to needy students. Although students can also apply for subsidies from the Government toward transportation and textbook expenses, Mr. Li Ka-shing is aware that the aforementioned subsidies may not be sufficient to cover all the expenses of a student for those in great financial need. Therefore, he has decided to establish the “Li Chong Yuet Ming Care Fund” to ensure that such needy students attending the School can receive additional living allowances so they can concentrate on their studies without being subject to any unnecessary financial burden.
Currently, SPCC’s campus is very cramped as it is under-provisioned by 40% in terms of space when compared to the minimum standard premises provided by the Government for schools of similar enrolment. As such, it is planned that upon the merging and relocation of the two affiliated primary schools to the New Primary School premises at Wong Chuk Hang in 2008, an HK$130 million project will be undertaken to refurbish the existing Secondary School premises and to demolish the adjacent MacDonnell Road Primary School building and in its place construct a new building which will contain needed facilities and extend the Secondary School campus.
The Li Ka-shing Foundation was established in 1980 to nurture a culture of giving. Mr. Li believes that this can be accomplished by focusing on capacity empowerment through education and the building of a caring society through medical and healthcare projects. The Li Ka-shing Foundation and other private charitable foundations established by Mr. Li have supported numerous philanthropic activities with grants, sponsorships, and commitments of approximately HK$7.6 billion.
Apart from thanking Mr. Li for his financial support and endorsement, the Council of SPCC have committed to working even harder to nurture its students so that they will become knowledgeable altruistic leaders with a global perspective and a strong sense of social responsibility.
– End –