22 February 2019
Ng Hak-kim (inset left) and Paul Yip release the results of the study which has been criticized for lacking details. Photo: HKEJ
Ng Hak-kim (inset left) and Paul Yip release the results of the study which has been criticized for lacking details. Photo: HKEJ

Student suicides unrelated to education system, govt study finds

A government-appointed committee has concluded that there is no direct correlation between student suicides and the school system.

Committee chairman Paul Yip announced the findings in response to a rising number of student suicides in Hong Kong. 

Secretary for Education Ng Hak-kim said school authorities will continue to explore ways to simplify the curriculum to ease pressure on students, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The report analyzed 71 suicides among students in the past three academic years.

It was observed that student suicides were generally complex and could greatly affect each other.

The risk factors included mental illness, weak interpersonal relationships and academic distress.

The committee made 26 recommendations across three levels, for the general, high-risk and suicidal students.

Primary and secondary schools accounted for 38 suicide cases, of which nine students said they were experiencing considerable pressure in their studies.

Only 13 percent did not achieve satisfactory academic results, Metro Daily reports.

Yip said the figures suggest that expectations of individuals or parents are important risk factors.

“Social values need to be reviewed,” he said.

The report found an increase in suicides among Secondary One and Secondary Four students in the previous school year.

Schools were encouraged to step up their efforts in promoting mental health in the S1 and S4 bridging programs.

For tertiary students, the report recommended that schools arrange a period of rest and relaxation during the semester, such as in the form of reading weeks.

Education legislator Ip Kin-yuen criticized the report for lack of new and practical solutions.

He accused the panel of simply rehashing existing measures and the Education Bureau of turning a deaf ear to a comprehensive review.

Fellow legislator Fernando Cheung said the proposals are too vague and lacked details.

“The outreach services are already filled with ‘time bomb’ cases that are already very serious,” Cheung said.

He called for a complete overhaul of the education system.

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