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PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 February, 2009, 12:00am

Mixed schools don't mean low grades

Some parents prefer to send their children to single-sex schools. They believe these schools prevent children being distracted by the opposite sex, so they'll do better in exams.

But just because students don't study at a co-educational school, it doesn't mean they won't date.

Students mingle with those from other schools, so they can easily meet students of the opposite sex. This could be even more distracting than being in the same class as a girlfriend or boyfriend.

There are studies which suggest students do better academically at single-sex schools. But life is not just about grades.

Having friends of the opposite sex helps our psychological development. Boys learn how to be nice to girls, understand their thought processes, and thus be a gentleman in the future. Girls learn how the male mind works and how to communicate with boys.

Mature teenagers should be able to manage their time, handle relationships and tackle their schoolwork at the same time. It is all about self-discipline. I do not think studying is a co-educational school is a bad idea.

Koey Lee, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Consider a gap year before university

In many countries, students take a year off between secondary school and university to work or volunteer. I believe Form Seven graduates in Hong Kong should do the same.

Taking a gap year can broaden your horizons. Hong Kong students can be self-centred and apathetic, focusing only on grades. In their eyes, studying is the most important thing in their life. They have no idea of real life or the real world.

Taking a gap year to earn some money at a normal job or help the less fortunate by doing voluntary work is extremely beneficial. Not only do you help the people you're working with, the experience looks good on your CV.

Taking a year off also introduces you to life outside of school.

Being responsible for the money you earn or the people you help makes you realise what a tough job parents and teachers have looking after you through your schooling.

The experience is also likely to teach communication and organisation skills, and skills that can't be learned from a textbook or in the classroom.

The skills gained from a year off will help you at university and beyond, when you get your first job. You will be better equipped to deal with adult life.

A year away from the classroom is also a chance to get to know yourself better. You can take time, away from the stress of exams and grades, to carefully consider what you want from life. You have the time to set goals and work out how to achieve them.

There are many benefits to taking a year off. We should all consider taking one.

Kathleen Ng Pik-yue, Kit Sam Lam Bing Yim Secondary School

The uniform debate

Students are always discussing the merits of not wearing uniform. Many find them uncomfortable, unfashionable and restricting.

Their discomfort can make learning less effective, as students are focusing more on how they feel than what they're being taught.

I have a simple suggestion. Once a month, students should be allowed to wear casual clothes.

This way, they'd remember that school is about learning, and grow to accept their uniform, rather than focus on how annoying it is.

Li Suet-wing The Chinese Foundation Secondary School