Students not properly equipped for workplace environment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2007, 12:00am

I am dissatisfied with the English education system in Hong Kong and I think students who are products of that system are victims.

There are so many Cantonese characteristics to the process of English-language teaching.

When you are young you do not know any better.

However, once you start working and having to communicate in English, with native English speakers, you become aware of the shortcomings of the English teaching system.

The Education Bureau should be called to account for this state of affairs.

Why do our schools keep producing young people who speak such heavily accented English?

The reason they speak in this way is that they are copying the flawed pronunciation of their English teachers.

Pupils in Hong Kong's schools should be learning how to speak English, as native speakers do, from an early age.

They are entitled to be given a better quality of English-language teaching.

The sooner they learn to use English with a correct accent, the sooner they will be able to rectify their Cantonese English.

Students who realise, once they are in a working environment, that their spoken English is inferior are forced to spend a lot of money on courses to rectify the problem.

So many young people, because they are aware of this problem, are reluctant to use English when they are speaking to foreigners.

It also makes it difficult to understand native English speakers and this can cause problems in the workplace.

I have noticed that there is even a problem with spoken English with university students.

Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan and successful city.

However, it should not rest on its laurels.

It should be making the necessary investments to produce well-educated young people, who are going to contribute to society in the future.

We have to make the necessary reforms in the education system so that standards of English are improved.

Carol Lau, Shau Kei Wan