Date
24 May 2017
The report released by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority shows many high school students are still struggling with language proficiency. Photo: Google Map
The report released by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority shows many high school students are still struggling with language proficiency. Photo: Google Map

Why Mengzi’s helicopter parent can’t afford to move three times

Many high school students are still struggling with language proficiency, based on the results of this year’s Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examinations (HKDSE).

Only 7.5 percent of the day-school candidates got a score of Grade 5 or above in Chinese, while only 8.8 percent got Grade 5 or above in English, Sky Post reported, citing information from the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Of the 60,000 students who sat the exams, nearly 80 percent got Grade 2 or above.

The influence of the internet can be seen in many of the students’ papers. For example, in writing an English letter, many of them started with “Hi” or “Hello”.

The use of Chinglish or Cantonese-flavored English can also be observed. Examples: “I very enjoy it” (I enjoy it very much), “use my eyes to see” (I see with my eyes) and “foreign country people” (foreigners).

Mispronunciation was also common. Some students pronounced “daughter” as “doctor” and “career” as “Korea”. 

During the English oral examinations, students responded favorably when the topic was about digital technology such as “selfie” and YouTube.

However, they found it hard to relate to other topics such as urban development.

Some students were fond of saying “la”, a Cantonese expression usually uttered at the end of a sentence during casual conversations.

Many students also misinterpreted some of the rather commonly used Chinese idioms.

“Mother Meng’s three moves” refers to a traditional Chinese tale about a mother who moved several times to find an appropriate learning environment for her son Mengzi, who later became a great Confucian philosopher.

In the exams, some students described Mengzi’s mother as a “helicopter parent” who overprotected her son.

Some even said that with today’s soaring home prices, it is impossible for a family to move three times.

Students did not fare well in Liberal Studies, either. Of the examinees, only 10 percent got Grade 5 or above, while over 80 percent got a Grade 2 or above.

They got high marks on topics or issues related to social trends. However, many struggled with questions on globalization.

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EL/DY/CG

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