The Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should strengthen cooperation in education and carry out more exchanges among teachers and students to promote mutual learning, officials and teachers said on Tuesday.
Some 200 primary and secondary school principals and teachers from Hong Kong are currently on an exchange tour to Beijing. It is the largest teacher group the city has sent to the mainland since two-way travel fully resumed.
The trip, from Monday to Thursday, will take the teachers to Beijing primary and secondary schools, enterprises and cultural events, so they can gain a better understanding of the mainland's socioeconomic development and achievements in basic education.
The opening ceremony of the tour was held at Beijing Normal University on Tuesday.
Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, greeted the teachers from Hong Kong and spoke highly of the significance of the group's visit.
He hoped that principals and teachers in Hong Kong can work hard to become good principals and teachers, nurture more exceptional talent and promote educational development in the city.
Christine Choi Yuk-lin, Secretary for Education of the Hong Kong SAR government, said it is the responsibility and mission for educators to cultivate talent.
As Hong Kong embarks on a new journey of transformation from stability to prosperity, the educators of the city need to guide students to gain a better understanding of the country, and give full play to Hong Kong's unique advantages to contribute to national development goals, she said.
"We need to cultivate our students to become responsible and visionary people with a love of the country and motherland, and with good morality and talent," she said.
The city will promote experience sharing and make good use of the teacher training platforms of mainland universities to promote high-quality education through the mutual learning of principals and teachers, she added.
Yu Bin, an official with the Ministry of Education's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs office, said the event aims to help principals and teachers from Hong Kong gain a better understanding of the mainland's education policy and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between Hong Kong and Beijing in basic education.
"We need to keep up with the times and gain an accurate understanding of the new directions of national education reform," she said.
The ministry will fully support education cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong and provide more opportunities and platforms for mutual learning, she added.
Peng Yan-shan, a new teacher from Hong Kong's SKH St. John's Primary School, said the trip offers a valuable opportunity for the teachers to experience cultural development, improve their understanding of the country and their professional ability, and help their students to cultivate national identity.
"As new teachers, we are deeply aware of our responsibility and mission of not only teaching knowledge, but also guiding and inspiring students," she said. "We must stay humble and constantly improve our teaching ability and improve our knowledge and horizons."