Heavy school workload weighs down students

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 12:00am

The tragic death of a nine-year-old boy on January 3 brought into sharp focus the issue of primary schoolchildren having to carry heavy bags.

Lee Ka-kit fell 20 floors to his death when his rucksack, full of school books, pulled him over safety railings.

There has been a lot of discussion about this problem over the years, but it remains unresolved. It is a problem faced by almost every child in Hong Kong and is not confined to just a few schools. The reason for these heavy bags is simple - the demanding curriculum in our primary schools set by the Education Department. Officials should recognise this rather than shifting blame to the schools.

A typical primary school has eight classes a day. With eight subjects, a primary student will have to bring eight textbooks and probably eight workbooks. Add to this load a bottle of water, a snack, and a pair of running shoes.

I urge the Education Department to revise the primary school curriculum, so it is not so demanding and children do not have to bring in so many textbooks.


Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada