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In Hong Kong, schools compete to create the next best learning innovation

HONG KONG, People’s Republic of China — As the world of education deals with the changes brought by artificial intelligence (AI), the Hong Kong education sector will soon be getting ready for something else: a first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence tool enabling students to "chat" with wartime heroes. 

Before this, another first-of-its-kind robotics program was pilot-launched for primary school students in 26 schools, which came with “editable” teaching resources and teacher training workshops to ensure that the lessons on robotics were tailor-fit to students.

Hong Kong’s education officials have long been on a campaign to achieve a “culture of innovation” among its schools, teachers and students, Katharine Choi of the Hong Kong Education Bureau said. 

Among the mechanisms it relies on to achieve this is the Quality Education Fund (QEF) which incentivizes schools to compete with each other every year to pitch the most innovative teaching and learning projects. 

“QEF has been established for 25 years. It’s a very popular funding for schools and we do a lot of promotion of QEF projects. It's very common for schools — if they have some new ideas that they want to try — they will think of applying for QEF,” Choi told

QEF has supported thousands of projects in the past 25 years “with a lot of successes” that have led to students’ improved learning, Choi added.

As stated in its name, the Quality Education Fund (QEF) is a fund used by the Hong Kong government to finance projects for the promotion of quality education and to push for reform in specific education areas, including innovative projects to improve learning.

Established in 1998, the QEF was created as one of the major recommendations of the Education Commission, the advisory body set up by the government on the overall development of education in Hong Kong. 

The Philippines does not have a counterpart fund similar to that of the QEF, but a similar congressional body focused on education — the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) — is set to make its recommendations for education reform in 2025.

Last year, one of the pitches approved by the QEF committee – which set a