PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 January, 2008, 12:00am

Promises and perils of free education

Recently, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen pledged to implement 12 years' free education and small-class teaching. It is an innovative step but is it beneficial to our students?

Some parents endorse the proposal because of less school fees as 12 years of free education can lessen the pressure on the low-income families. This will also increase the general standard of Hong Kong students

On the other hand, it may be a burden to students who are not interested in academic subjects as the extended educations will slow their development in the other areas. Added to that will be the combined pressure of two public exams before entering the university. Parents will send their children to tutorial schools rather than supporting the student's extra curricular activities.

Although I am not the beneficiary for 12 years' free education, I admit it is good for students. However, I would also remind parents and schools to encourage students' development in other aspects also.


Save the planet, cut that air conditioner

For Hong Kong people, summer is like winter, thanks to the freezing temperature set by the air conditioner.

When I walk into a shopping mall, I feel as if I have stumbled into a freezer. Hong Kong people use air conditioners everywhere, in the MTR, buses, shopping malls, classrooms and even toilets. The average room temperature in some of the cinemas in Hong Kong is less than 15 degree Celsius.

Sometimes if you can bear the temperature, you actually don't need to turn the air conditioner on. There is also a research saying that if you got flu or asthma, 70 per cent of the time it is linked to overuse of air conditioners.

It is such an easy job to turn off the air conditioner and open the window to save the energy. You also have to remember this: whenever you are enjoying the air conditioner, you are also damaging the lovely planet.

To save your health, to save electricity, to save money, to save Hong Kong, stop using air conditioners unnecessarily. Can't we do it?

Michael Lau, HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

Living together puts the future at stake

In Hong Kong, many lovers prefer to live together but not marry. Why?

The modern people lack responsibility. Some may think that marriage is unnecessary if they love each other. In addition, when they cohabit without legally marrying, they will be free to separate without any legal process.

But this can cause problems, like decrease in birthrate and an increase in ageing population.

I hope people will be concerned more about the consequences, not just their reasons.

Jodie Chan, Leung Shek Chee College

The first lesson: keep the class clean

Imagine that your classroom is very dirty and untidy, do you have a mood to study? I do not like studying in this kind of classrooms, I believe that a clean classroom can help students study efficiently.

In order to keep the classroom clean, I think we need to clean our classroom every day after school. We need to sweep the floor, clean the blackboard and tidy up the tables and chairs.

When there is guests come to our school, we can show them we have clean classrooms.

Cleaning the classroom is not only the janitor's responsibility, but our responsibility also. So we should help to keep the classroom clean.

Charles Li Kin-yip, STFA Tam Pak Yu College

Searching for knowledge

Nowadays, Hong Kong is a knowledge-based society. Having more life experience is better than just reading books. Some people believe that knowledge can only be found in books, I do not agree. People also gain knowledge by travelling, from experience and from the internet.

Travelling is a great way to get close to the whole world. Let's take Zhangjiajie as an example. By travelling, we can communicate with the people there and experience their lifestyle and culture. If we just read books, we can never experience that.

We can just get more knowledge by taking on various challenges. Through trail and error, we can become more mature and gradually gain more knowledge.

In addition, knowledge can also be found on the internet. Using the internet to search information is widely accepted nowadays.

Some Japanese schools even encourage their students to surf the net and have lessons at home.

So knowledge can be found in different ways, and it can be found everywhere.

Moses Chan Yuen-ho, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

What I want for next Christmas

2008 has started. 2007 Christmas is over. Can you remember what you did during the last Christmas holiday? Went shopping? Partied till dawn? Christmas nowadays has become an occasion of revelry. It is just an excuse for people to gather round or go on a spending spree. Christmas has also evolved into a profitable business opportunity. Retailers use Christmas crazy sale, Christmas packs and other myriad advertisements to lure customers into spending more on Christmas gifts.

It is time for us to rethink who is the leading figure in Christmas. Do not forget the purpose of celebrating Christmas. Let's embrace a meaningful Christmas in 2008.

Sharon Wong, Hang Seng School of Commerce