PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 August, 2008, 12:00am

Education is about more than exams

It seems the only reason students go to secondary school these days is to prepare for examinations. I've even heard of teachers being fired because their pupils didn't score high enough grades.

The school system and most parents seem to take it for granted examination grades are the only measure of a student's value, but I think this fails to take into consideration the quality of the examination paper. There are, after all, easy exams and difficult exams, and each kind will produce very different results.

Some students thrive in the highly competitive examination system, and others do not.

The fact some do not get good grades does not mean they have not learned anything important or their teacher has failed them.

I think both students and teachers should be judged on more than examinations alone.

Eunice Cheung, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

When we lie to protect others

In The Moment of Truth, an America game show, contestants are asked to answer a series of progressively more intimate and personal questions for a cash prize. If they lie, they miss out on their prize, but when they tell the truth and admit their wrongdoings it inevitably hurts family and friends.

I don't approve of telling lies, but I think 'white lies' are necessary sometimes, and we tell them to avoid hurting people. Let's say, for example, a friend cooks you a meal and it tastes awful. You would probably pick at it and say you had an upset stomach and no appetite rather than tell the truth.

Quite honestly, I have lied in order not to hurt someone, but I haven't enjoyed doing it, and feel guilty after.

Obviously, we should do everything we can to avoid lies, but bear in mind they are necessary if they spare someone pain.

Wong Sze-wing, Leung Shek Chee College

In China, a dream comes true

I was in China on August 8, the day of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, and I was very moved by what I saw.

Everyone in China was celebrating along with the privileged guests.

The ceremony itself also impressed me, particularly how it paraded China's key inventions - the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing - through dance and art.

I thought this was a very clever way to introduce the world to China's culture and history.

I really hope the closing ceremony is just as dramatic and compelling and China's long-held Olympics dream is everything it wished.

Zoe Cheung Pui-yee, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

Ensuring fire remains our servant

As the old proverb goes, 'Fire is a good servant, but a bad master', and we all had a tragic reminder of the truth of that saying recently when a fire broke out on Nathan Road in Mong Kok, killing four and injuring 55.

Obviously tragedies like this can be avoided, and the best way to do so is by sticking to some basic rules.

First of all, any naked flames - burning candles for example - should be extinguished before leaving the house or going to bed.

Secondly, flammables such as oil and solvents should be placed at a safe distance from stoves.

If a fire does break out, remember to avoid using lifts, and if you have to escape a burning area you should crawl or slither with a wet towel covering your mouth.

It is essential fire escapes not be cluttered, and it is the responsibility of building committees to carry out regular inspections of fire extinguishers and smoke detection devices.

Fire drills and alarm tests should be held three times a year.

We have a responsibility, after all, to ensure we are the master of fire, and not vice versa.

Michelle Lui, Diocesan Girls' School

Elderly need care

I recently joined my family on a visit to an old people's home to try to cheer the elderly residents up with some games.

I was a little worried they wouldn't want to participate, but they were even more energetic and excited than we were.

After lunch, we gave them some small gifts and chatted, and I found them engaging and easy to talk to.

I gained a lot from the experience, and came away realising we don't give the elderly enough of our time.

All too often they feel ignored, and this is frustrating for them. We should all give them more thought and help out with voluntary work.

Tang Chor-kiu, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

A changing future

I've always known it's important to think about the future, but I've thought about it in many different ways as I've grown up.

When I was a primary school student, for example, I thought I would spend the rest of my life living with my parents, and couldn't imagine life without them.

By the time I had reached Form Two, I was already planning to move out as soon as I was 18, because I felt claustrophobic, and didn't get on so well with my mother and sister.

Now, as a Form Five student, I look at my future differently, and want to be successful to support my parents. I also want to be a role model for my sisters.

Our future goals may change, but it's important to be thinking about them and working to make them happen.

Jeanne Shih, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College