The Financial Secretary in his 2019-20 Budget Speech proposed the “IT Innovation Lab” initiative :
|79. To pave the way for nurturing local technology talents, we will also encourage the promotion of popular science education in schools. I will deploy $500 million to implement the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme in the coming three school years. Each secondary school benefiting will be granted $1 million to procure the necessary information technology (IT) equipment and professional services, and organise more relevant extra-curricular activities to deepen students' knowledge of cutting-edge IT, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing and big data, with a view to helping young people build a good IT foundation early during their secondary school years. In addition to financial support, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) will set up a one-stop professional support centre to provide assistance.|
Strengthening popular science education and “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” (STEM) education are among the eight major areas to promote I&T development put forth by the Chief Executive in her 2017 Policy Address. In this Internet-driven digital age, IT is a common technology in I&T development. With the wide adoption of IT across different areas and sectors, the demand for IT talent in various industries is strong and ever-increasing. We must enhance the interest of young people (including secondary school students) in IT and innovative thinking and foster an IT learning atmosphere to encourage them to choose technology-related tertiary education programmes and pursue an I&T career in the future.
The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) conducted an interim review on Enriched IT Programme in Secondary Schools (EITP) in the second half of 2018, and consulted stakeholders including teachers, students and their parents of the participating schools, secondary school councils, tertiary institutions, the IT industry and IT-education related associations. The stakeholders generally agreed that students’ participation in IT activities outside classroom learning helped arouse their interest in learning IT and cultivate their creativity and logical thinking. They generally hoped that the programme could be extended to all schools in order to strengthen and promote popular IT education.
The OGCIO implements the “IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools” (IT Innovation Lab) initiative under the existing “Enriched IT Programme in Secondary Schools” (EITP) to provide funding support of up to $1 million in the three school years from 2020/21 to 2022/23 for each publicly funded secondary school to upgrade their IT equipment and facilities and organise IT-related activities.
The Financial Secretary in his 2021-22 Budget Speech further proposed to extend the “IT Innovation Lab” programme to cover primary schools:
|92. The IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme has received positive response since its launch. I will set aside over $200 million to extend the programme to primary schools. Funding of up to $400,000 will be provided to each subsidised primary school in the coming three school years, thereby rolling out a "Knowing More About IT" Programme to enhance students' interests and knowledge in information technology and their applications through extra-curricular activities, so as to prepare them for integration into the knowledge-based economy and participation in the development of a digital society. The OGCIO will set up a one-stop support centre to provide assistance for primary schools.|
The OGCIO extends the IT Innovation Lab Programme to all publicly-funded primary school and implements the “Knowing More About IT” Programme to provide funding support of up to $400,000 in the three school years from 2021/22 to 2023/24 for each publicly funded primary school to upgrade their IT equipment and facilities and organise IT-related activities.