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Macau spends little on R&D

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Despite Macau’s booming economy in the last few years, it has invested little into research and development (R&D), according to figures made public yesterday.
According to data quoted by a former Portuguese secretary of state for science, technology and higher education, Manuel Valsassina Heitor, Macau spent just 0.2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – total wealth created – on R&D in 2009.
This figure is quite low in comparison with other countries, including regional rival Singapore, which invested an impressive 2.5 percent of its GDP on R&D. Portugal has spent about 1.7 percent and even a developing country such as Tunisia invests more than one percent.
In fact, the share of wealth channelled towards education in Macau is one of the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2010, the government spent almost MOP 4.5 billion on education, but this figure was less than 2.1 percent of the GDP.
But the Tertiary Education Services Office coordinator Sou Chio Fai preferred to underline that the number of PhD students jumped from just 16 to 631 in the last decade. “Our research capability has undoubtedly increased,” he said.

About 90 percent of all high-school graduates proceed to university, with more than half of those choosing local institutions. In addition, one third of all university students are from overseas, the official said.

V.Q.

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