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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

Education chief returns from Finland

Secretary for Education Choi Yuk-lin has returned to Hong Kong following her visit to Finland, which she concluded by attending Educa, an education exhibition, and touring the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, the largest institution of its kind in the country.


Educa is the largest event for the education and training sector in Finland and is aimed at addressing global education challenges.


In a discussion session, Ms Choi exchanged views on the role of education in preparing for the future with Finland’s State Secretary to the Minister of Education Mikaela Nylander and representatives of the Finnish academic sector.


She explained that to achieve whole-person development, Hong Kong’s education system not only equips students with skills and knowledge, but also focuses on honing their generic skills, strengthening their resilience and responsiveness, and developing their values and attitudes to equip them with self-learning and lifelong learning capabilities that will enable them to cope with future challenges.


She added that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education is an important element in the curriculum of Hong Kong primary and secondary schools.


In addition, she stressed that in the globalised world of the 21st century, governments, policymakers, educators and communities from different parts of the world should work together, including through dialogue, exchanging good practices and sharing resources, to overcome challenges and create a quality educational environment.


During her visit to Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Ms Choi learned about its role and development, its efforts in promoting vocational and professional education and training (VPET), and its experience of nurturing applied science talent to meet the needs of society.


She said she hoped that her visit will help pave the way for co-operation between the university and a university of applied sciences due to be established in Hong Kong in the near future.


In addition, Ms Choi met Finland’s State Secretary to the Minister of Education Mikaela Nylander, with whom she exchanged views on fostering educational collaboration between Hong Kong and Finland.


She said that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is striving to establish Hong Kong as an international educational hub, and that Finnish teachers and students are welcome to undertake exchange and study programmes in Hong Kong.


Ms Choi also visited the Finnish National Agency for Education to listen to a presentation on both basic education and VPET in Finland, and met Hong Kong students attending an exchange programme at the University of Helsinki to hear about their learning experiences there.

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