Tutorial colleges are popular thanks to interfering parents and peer pressure

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am


The highlight of promotional leaflets of tutorial schools is the claim that their teachers can help students get straight As.

Critics of these schools say students get all they need from Hong Kong's established education system, but there are still many young people who flock to these colleges every day. They have become extremely popular and this should be a cause for concern.

The main reason for their popularity is that young Hongkongers are heavily influenced by peer pressure. Many of their classmates are attending these colleges and they feel they will be left behind if they do not follow suit. There will be tips they could be taught to help them do well in the public exams.

So-called helicopter parents make things worse. They spoil and overprotect their children even when they are teenagers.

They want to provide the best possible education and see the tutorial classes as a necessary part of achieving that goal, even though they are expensive.

These parents seem to think that all the courses offered are useful and that the more notes and learning material their children can have, the better.

As a consequence, you see many students looking very tired as they have had to attend tutorial classes after their normal eight-hour day at school. Some classes at these private colleges start as late as 8.15pm, running to 9.30pm. How can these youngsters still have time for homework and revision? They often end up feeling more tense.

Nor is this state of affairs good for teachers in our public schools. They might lose confidence in their ability if so many of their pupils are going to extra tutorial classes. If they have lower self-esteem, it could adversely affect the quality of their teaching. Pupils might also feel that there is little they can learn in school.

I see the popularity of tutorial colleges as a negative trend in society. Young people will become over-dependent on the services they provide.

The government and parents are responsible for these developments.

Parents should not try and force their children to attend tutorial classes. Try not to overburden them and let them make the choice.

Also, the government has to provide more material and financial support to schools, so that students rely more on the public school system than the network of tutorial colleges in the city.

Kelly Lam Wing-sum, Kowloon Bay