Eighty percent of Primary 6 pupils in Hong Kong take between eight and 16 hours of tutorial classes outside school each week, Headline Daily reported Monday, citing results from a recent survey.
In an extreme case, a Primary 5 pupil attended a full nine hours of tutorial classes starting right after school and ending at 1 a.m. each day for as long as a month.
Teachers noticed the pupil was falling asleep in class.
A social worker found the pupil had extended the hours of the private tutorials to protest against being forced by the parents to attend them.
In the survey, conducted by the Caritas Youth and Community Service, 1,677 pupils and their parents from 34 primary schools across Hong Kong were interviewed between March and May.
About 4.2 percent of the respondents reported a staggering 17 to 24 hours a week in tutorial lessons, and 1 percent reported 25 hours or more.
Parents who were not sold on the idea of tutorial classes said they were merely for pupils to practise taking exams using past papers.
Some of these parents said they would rather hire university students to conduct one-on-one tutorials with their children.
Lit Ho-cheung, director of student guidance at student services organization Hok Yau Club, said he was shocked by the long hours of tutorial classes the pupils have to endure.
He said pupils would find these long hours difficult to take, both physically and psychologically.
Parents are putting pressure on their children, Lit said, as they know that doing well in the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) would improve the chances of their children being assigned to schools in the upper bands.
He has called for a review of the allocation system for Secondary 1 school places.
Lit’s views were echoed by Caritas Youth and Community Service social worker Shirley Chow Man-wai, who said the government should review the meaning of education and the effectiveness of the existing system, including considering the abolishment of TSA examinations.
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