Authorities said on Monday that they won't stop sending government staff to attend overseas training programmes – despite plans to develop a civil service academy in Hong Kong to enhance workers’ knowledge of the country.
The government is now seeking Legco’s endorsement to hire a head for the academy, which is slated to start running next year.
Officials said the college will strengthen civil servants’ knowledge of national affairs, the constitutional order of the SAR, as well as the Hong Kong government’s relationship with the central authorities.
During a panel meeting to discuss the issue, New People's Party lawmaker Regina Ip said while having such an academy will be crucial, it is also essential to keep sending government workers to top universities like Harvard and Stanford.
"Maybe you only send one person to each university every year....but civil servants still need to go and form networks, and do something for our country. This will help us get more room internationally and make more friends," she said, adding that this is particularly important as China is now facing a "strategy of containment" from powerful countries.
Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip agreed with Ip, saying Hong Kong – being a metropolis – needs its workers to have international vision and sense.
Meanwhile, Nip didn’t comment on reports that deputy police commissioner Oscar Kwok has been chosen to head the academy.
The Liberal Party's Peter Shiu showered Kwok with praise during the Legco meeting, saying speeches the senior officer has made in the international arena showed he has a "strong sense of justice".
During a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council last year, Kwok denied claims of police brutality during the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, saying officers were actually the victims of relentless violence.
Nip didn't respond to Shiu's comments, saying only that there will be an open recruitment to select the best person for the job.