Schools panned for holding tests after holidays

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am

The city's schools came under fire from a lawmaker this week for 'destroying' students' childhood by scheduling internal assessments at the end of school holidays, forcing them to spend their break revising.

League of Social Democrats legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip raised the issue in a Legislative Council question this week, calling on the Education Bureau to push schools to schedule tests at the end of term.

'It is simple logic,' he told Education Post. 'If you have the exams before the holidays, children can enjoy their break. Otherwise, the whole holiday spirit is ruined.'

However, Education Secretary Michael Suen Ming-yeung told legislators such planning was up to schools.

'No particular arrangement of assessments would fit all schools at different key stages or levels of learning,' Mr Suen said.

Based on school calendars, the bureau found 450 of 550 primary schools and 320 of 440 secondaries held their internal exams right after the winter break.

Mr Chan said parents had complained to him that they had been unable to travel during the Christmas and New Year break as their children had to prepare for exams.

'Hong Kong children are so miserable,' he said. 'They are under so much pressure they cannot have a happy, carefree childhood.'

Mr Chan said he had experienced a similar situation a decade ago when one of his own daughters was in Form One. 'We went on holiday to Europe, but while the rest of the family was sightseeing, my daughter was in the hotel room with her textbooks,' he said.

Alex Cheung Chi-hung, chairman of the Aided Primary Schools' Council, said schools and parents needed to strike a balance, and said schools should give students a few weeks after school returns from holiday to prepare.