19 September 2019
TSA tests are putting too much pressure on children, according to many parents in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
TSA tests are putting too much pressure on children, according to many parents in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

TSA tests causing children undue stress, say parents

Nearly a third of parents in Hong Kong feel their children are under undue stress due to the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), a survey has shown.

One in four parents said they are spending more than two hours a day on average to help their children prepare for the TSA, despite having doubts about the test’s usefulness, according to the survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Family Education (HKIFE).

Half of the respondents said they never spend time with their children on TSA preparations, while 20 percent said they devote between one and one-and-a-half hours a day on TSA exercises with their children.

About 45 percent of the parents surveyed said school is the source of pressure for their children in preparing for TSA, Ming Pao Daily News reported.

For its survey, HKIFE interviewed over the telephone 324 parents of primary three students and 203 parents of primary six students. The interviews were conducted in the last week of October.

In a similar study conducted by the Civic Party between late-October and early-November, nearly 70 percent of 700-plus respondents said they agree that the TSA puts heavy pressure on students, teachers and parents.

Two-thirds of the respondents felt that the TSA for primary three students should be abolished immediately.

Regina Ip of the New People’s Party said she is against scrapping the TSA. She cited educational consultants’ views that the assessment is useful and that the Education Bureau needs tools to gauge student standards.

Michael Tien, vice-chairman of the New People’s Party, noted that results of the test are also being used as a benchmark for the government in allocation educational resources.

Tien suggested that the government should consider conducting the assessment every other year on pupils without registering the name of the schools they attend.

That will help us avoid a situation where the schools put undue pressure on the kids to get better grades, he said.

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