16 February 2019
Li Sui-wah, principal of Queen's College, says Queenians are highly motivated and have high hopes for themselves. Photo: HKEJ
Li Sui-wah, principal of Queen's College, says Queenians are highly motivated and have high hopes for themselves. Photo: HKEJ

Why this teacher wants students to take it easy and let it ride

It’s 11 p.m. and the lights are still on in its classrooms but don’t let it surprise you.

Queen’s College is simply trying to provide space for students to do their revisions and hold group discussions.

This has been going on in the past two years.

This and some time-tested practices have helped grow the reputation of the boys’ school as a premier Hong Kong institution.

It has an impressive list of alumni to show for it.

Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China, studied there from 1884 to 1887.

Other notable graduates include the late tycoon Henry Fok, former chief secretary Rafael Hui and Norman Chan, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

The late philanthropist and industrialist Robert Hotung passed through its gates as did Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho and top academic Joseph Sung.

Contemporary Queenians have done their part in maintaining the school’s academic tradition and in enriching its 153-year history.

Queen’s College produced the most topnotchers in a qualification test for Form Five secondary students, the forerunner of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) exam.

In 2006, the school produced a record haul of topnotchers with six boys scoring full marks in the Form Five exam. 

It has kept its impressive record since HKDSE was introduced in 2012.

Last year, 70 Queenians made it to the University of Hong Kong.

Principal Li Sui-wah gives full marks to the students for keeping things that way.

“They’re highly motivated and have high hopes for themselves,” she said.

“Of course teachers and parents play an important role in the boys’ success.”

That success is growing.

Li witnessed how big it had become during a banquet to celebrate the school’s 150th anniversary.

“Alumni came forward for a group photo. More than 200 doctors were on stage. It was such a magnificent scene,” Li said.

But make no mistake. Not all students in the elite school are having it easy.

Many deal with academic challenges and stress just like those in other schools, Li said. 

Queen’s College runs a peer counseling program in which each secondary four senior looks after four secondary one students.

The older students teach their younger peers how to balance academics and extra-curricular activities.

In a way, Li, a 30-year education veteran, is a product of such a system.

Li said her father shaped her upbringing and his strict teachings have yielded many good Chinese virtues in her. 

“Hong Kong used to have big families,” she said.

“Nowadays, most families have only one child.”

As a result, parents tend to be overprotective of their children, giving schools a relatively harder time teaching them, she said.

“Many parents want their children to be first out of the starting line and they put this notion into the minds of their children.”

Li is trying to help them overcome academic pressure. 

Her suggestion: Take it easy and let it ride.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 30.

Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting

[Chinese version中文版]

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After winning a moot court competition, the boys pose for a group photo. Photo: HKEJ

Li is seen with parents during a Lunar New Year fair. She said parents want their children first out of the starting line. Photo: HKEJ

Li Sui-wah is all beide her kindergarten teacher. She said her father’s strict teachings brought out the best in her. Photos: HKEJ

Writer of the Hong Kong Economic Journal

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