[KCLPASS Columns 2016-2017 Issue #5]

The Problem on Education and the Academic Pressure on Students in Hong Kong

In March 2016, there were more than 6 student suicides within a period of 6 days. All cases involved individuals aged 11—21 and has risen shockingly to 24 deaths between Sep 2015 to March 2016. Over 20 of these incidents have claimed to be because of too much pressure from academics. From this, we can see that in the modern age, the Education System in Hong Kong is worrying.

“Robotic teaching” is a common term amongst most secondary schools in Hong Kong – teachers forcing students to understand concepts without giving explanations throughout the lesson. It is as if what only matters is that they have fulfilled their ‘duty’ in their own expectations. Not only that, enormous amounts of homework is piled on top of the already pressured students with no mercy given.

What next? Students can not finish all their homework because of extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, painting etc. Some individuals are lucky to pursue their hobbies whilst others, not as fortunate – being forced by parents into learning the piano, violin or other interests against their own wills. This is ridiculous as some parents would load the blame on their kids not being able to finish their homework because of the extra-curricular activities they forced their kids into. Ironic?

“Hong Kong Education has disoriented. Quality Education is derived from 2 crucial concepts: Justice and Respect. However, students are educated away from it all in Hong Kong and transformed under injustice and disrespect to no return.” Said Lao Man Bong, a retired Physics Teacher.

From the UN-backed index, Hong Kong Happiness Index is ranked 75th in 2016 and was 72nd in 2015 out of 156 counties. Being just ahead of fractious Somalia – a new entry this year which is besieged by Islamic militants and suicide bombings. Hong Kong has hit its record low. Worse even than during the SARS outbreak. I think the pressure from students has contributed to a key reason in this index, as well as the political, economic & housing factors.

All students’ dream is to get into university, but first they need to get through HKDSE (Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination) which stops about 82% of students. It is only then, roughly 18% of exam takers actually proceed to achieve their goal. With just 8 universities in Hong Kong, competition is tough. One can imagine the unbearable pressures under the brutal competitions amongst the students to be able to get into universities.

“Teaching is a creative profession, teaching, properly conceived, is not a delivery system. You know, you’re not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage.” Said Sir Ken Robinson on April 2013 on TED Talk.

Author: Samuel Chan
KCLPASS Sub-committee member 2016-17

(The view of the author does not represent the position of the Society. KCLPASS is a politically neutral society.)

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