Victims of rote-learning school system

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 1997, 12:00am

I refer to the letter from Dawn Lee headlined, 'Students nowadays look for quick-fix solutions' (South China Morning Post, October 23).

In her letter Ms Lee criticised private tutorial colleges, saying that they were a 'manifestation of the dwindling moral values students have towards education'.

I think she is displaying an unfair prejudice against such colleges.

Although the day school in which I study is of a reasonable standard, half of my classmates go to tutorial schools. However, they are not looking for exam tips nor do they expect to find 'quick-fix solutions'. Some of them use the classes in the tutorial college to revise, in a clear and systematic way, the knowledge they have already learned in school.

There is a technique to understanding exam questions and to being able to give clear answers. The colleges help youngsters to acquire and perfect that technique. But few of my classmates deny the importance of school lessons and I must emphasise that not all the school pupils who go to these private colleges are the type described by Ms Lee.

However, I do agree with Ms Lee that nowadays students are short-sighted and speculative.

However, they are like this because of Hong Kong's exam-cramming education system. Think about it. Each year, students have to sit many exams. Also, they have to compete with students in other schools in Primary Six, Secondary Three, Secondary Five and Secondary Seven. They have to learn, study and then do exercises. There is no time for them to think in greater depth about the subjects they are studying, or to think about other aspects of life, such as what they will do in the future. Because of the shortage of time, they must find the most effective methods of studying and ignore subjects not included in the syllabus.

We do not want to be short-sighted and speculative, but the system conditions us.