Differing views on the best kind of education for our children

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2007, 12:00am

I echo Wong Ka-yan's comments ('Our education system has to be competitive', November 6).

Students must learn to shoulder pressure in school. I have observed lessons in different schools. Many secondary school teachers prepared extensive PowerPoint slides and notes for students.

The slide presentations were all excellent and required minimum writing on students' part. Other teachers rewarded students with sweets when answers to yes/no questions were given. Teachers hesitated to discipline students. Tests were set at a level lower than they should have been for fear that students would score poorly and this might lower their self-esteem. True, a harmonious classroom was created, but learning was impaired.

We are training the pillars of the future society, one that we will grow old in, the same one our children will be raised in. What expectations should we be having for this society? As your correspondent pointed out, 'Keeping children cocooned and apart from the real world is pointless.'

Anson Yang, vice-principal, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School, Chai Wan

I think your correspondent Wong Ka-yan ('Our education system has to be competitive', November 6) and, indeed, many parents have misconceptions about competitiveness and education.

They believe making children compete at a young age can help them survive in a competitive environment in Hong Kong. It is more appropriate to call it rivalry and it does not necessarily produce educated people who can contribute to the well-being of society. On the contrary, we now have young boys and girls in therapy.

A 'competitive education system' does not have to mean competition amongst peers. There are other teaching methods, such as assessment and course work. These methods help to train a young person's brain and enable them to develop their personalities. Parents often overlook these factors.

Parents wanting this competitive education system, are sometimes the source of the stress felt by pupils and these parents can end up with emotional problems. It is time these parents looked carefully at the education system.

Virginia Yue, Tsuen Wan