It deeply saddens me that there have been 20 student suicides since the start of the current academic year.
The Education Bureau, the government, schools, universities and parents need to take steps to put a stop to these unfortunate events.
These young people, so full of promise, felt so much pressure that they thought the only way out was death.
I have worked as a Native-speaking English Teacher in several schools in Hong Kong and I am appalled at the workload.
So many lessons in various subjects are taught in one day. Some years ago, in Maths, for example, a teacher would spend one week on multiplication, then the next week on long division, and so forth.
Nowadays, students have to learn all these lessons in one day and are given hours of homework to practice.
How can a child complete the homework if they do not grasp the basics in class?
This then leads parents to send their children to tutors. Let’s not forget that secondary school students also have extra-curricular activities after school.
Then there are competitions that students are told by their teachers to join and awards they have aim for.
During holidays do they get a break? No. They are sent to camps and join more activities.
Students are so afraid of failure because they think their parents will be disappointed and will punish them if they don’t get good grades.
I have seen Form 6 students crying because they did not get the results they wanted.
And after talking to them and trying to reassure them it is not the end of the world, they told me they would be punished by their parents because they did not do well.
Younger students also told me the same thing when parents received the report card from school.
Everyone should learn in their own way and at their own pace. We are all unique. Some students are better than others in some subjects.
We are not all created equal and it is time parents, teachers and everyone else involved in a student’s life, realize this.
As a working adult, would you accept such terrible working conditions? I guess not.
The Education Bureau needs to revise its curriculum so that teachers have the chance to teach subjects properly so all the students will learn.
Universities also need to be aware of the students’ behavior. Teachers should stop pushing students to apply for competitions or awards.
And finally, parents, give your kids a break!
Everyone wants their child to succeed, but at what cost?
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