When Sir Edward became the 26th Governor of Hong Kong in 1982, there was a staggering dearth of tertiary education opportunities available to the territory’s post-secondary students. The tertiary institutions in Hong Kong were able to accommodate less than 2% of Hong Kong’s secondary school graduates. This lack of facilities and quality education meant that the best and brightest of Hong Kong’s students were forced to go overseas in order to study at a higher level, if they were lucky enough to come from a household which could afford it. For the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong’s secondary school graduates, a higher education was not a viable option.
The priority that Sir Edward placed on education, particularly the ability for students to complete a Degree Programme in Hong Kong eventually bore fruit. By 1996, a total of 18% of secondary school graduates could study in Hong Kong tertiary institutions. There are many reasons for the momentous increase. However, one of the principle factors is the dogged effort of Sir Edward. During Sir Edward’s years as governor, he oversaw the opening of the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong (now the City University of Hong Kong) in 1984 and was the motivating force behind the establishment of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Sir Eward’s vision and foresight prepared Hong Kong for a better future. The Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund was established in honour of him to record the gratitude of the community for his dedicated and outstanding service to Hong Kong.