Hang Seng School maintains record of producing the most high-fliers
Joyee Chan and Martin Cheung
The Hang Seng School of Commerce kept up its seven-year record of producing the most top scorers in the A-levels, with three of its students bagging six As and 11 getting five.
Pupils at the school in Sha Tin marked the end of its successful senior secondary school curriculum, and a golden era in Hong Kong education, by netting a record 593 As - 26 per cent of all the A grades awarded, and up from 507 last year.
'We have made history. I don't believe it will be beaten,' principal Chui Hong-sheung said to cheers in the school auditorium.
With the new academic structure coming into force next year, Hang Seng has discontinued its senior secondary school curriculum, and re-established itself as a private university offering sub-degree and degree courses.
One of the students who got six As, Virginia Yiu Yan-ki, was surprised by her results. 'I had to double-check the name written on the certificate to make sure the results really belonged to me,' Yiu said.
She said it was the school's highly competitive environment that motivated her to aim higher. Yiu wants to work in the finance sector and has applied to Chinese University's global business programme.
Another top scorer, Emily Yu Hoi-ki, made her way to the top from achieving only 26 points - and just two As - in her exams two years ago. She attributes her accomplishment to confidence and experience.
'I tell my reflection in the mirror every day that I can make it, to boost my self-assurance,' says Yu, who wants to become a lawyer for the underprivileged.
Others had reservations about the education system despite their brilliant academic results.
'The key to my success is hard work. But I believe it to be a type of 'hardworkingess' that is full of rigidity,' said Ray Tsang Sai-hong, who achieved five As and a B. Tsang believes his efforts allowed him to 'beat' the education system, which he said favoured people who memorised lessons just for the exams.
'A lot of outstanding people who are not willing to memorise are [not rewarded],' he said. He hopes the education system will emphasise critical thinking.
Fong Bo, another student from Hang Seng, agreed with this sentiment.
'It is true that the current education system lacks flexibility,' Fong said. 'People who achieve high marks are those who go home and study past exam papers.'
Fong said the essence of education was to develop analytical skills rather than just a good memory.
'It is not useful to memorise so much. Much more emphasis should be placed on [critical thinking],' the student said.
'Thinking is enhanced through debating and presentations. However, the truth is that parents will kill you if classroom teaching only consists of these [methods]. Parents don't want their children to leave the classroom without knowledge.
'So the problem is we know something is wrong with the education system but cannot do much.'
The number of As that pupils at the Hang Seng School of Commerce attained this year, a record