Hong Kong plans training college for civil servants, says Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam looks at a model of Singapore at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) office in Singapore on Aug 3, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Hong Kong is looking at setting up a dedicated training college for its 170,000 civil servants.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam revealed the plan after visiting several government agencies in Singapore, including the Civil Service College, on Thursday (Aug 3).

"I visited the Civil Service College five years ago. The reason why I came again is for this term of government, I really want us to explore in Hong Kong a dedicated civil service academy or college in order to provide more training for our civil servants, especially in several areas like leadership, public participation and also in terms of the application and use of technology," she told reporters.

Mrs Lam said that plans for the college are still at "a very preliminary, conceptual stage" and that the Secretary for the Civil Service Law Chi Kong will be visiting Singapore for more discussions.

A career civil servant who became Hong Kong's first female Chief Executive, Mrs Lam is in Singapore on a two-day visit, her first official overseas trip since taking office on July 1.

Earlier in the day, Mrs Lam sat in during a class for middle-managerial level officials at the Civil Service College.

The lesson is part of an eight-day programme on leadership and management, according to the Civil Service College.

Since 2008, the college has had frequent exchanges with the Hong Kong Civil Service. These exchanges include study visits and meetings between Singapore's Civil Service College and the Hong Kong Civil Service Training and Development Institutes.

Mrs Lam also visited the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) where she met URA chairman Peter Ho and other officials. She was briefed on Singapore's urban planning policy, including the revival of old estates and the creation of new towns.

In an interview with the Singapore media before her visit to Singapore, Mrs Lam, 60, said Hong Kong and Singapore share many similarities and face similar challenges.

She told The Straits Times she wants to emulate Singapore by having her government play a more active role.

Despite its laissez-faire tradition, the Hong Kong government needs to intervene more if it wants to compete with other economies, she said in an interview with The Straits Times in Hong Kong on July 28.

"The government has to provide vision and leadership, and this is where I think we have a lot to learn from Singapore," said Mrs Lam.

She also visited GovTech Hive, the Singapore government's innovation lab for digital services, on Thursday.

Mrs Lam was hosted to lunch by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. She is also meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

She will leave Singapore for Thailand on Thursday night.

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