Preparing for the future

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 February, 2009, 12:00am

My cousin goes to a famous school. She is only seven years old but she is under intense pressure to excel in her studies.

My aunt told me that her husband is worried about their daughter's academic results. The little girl has a packed schedule, even on Saturdays, when she has English, Putonghua and maths tutorials. At the end of the lessons, she has to do revision with her father and study until dinner.

In addition, she has extra Chinese classes on Monday and Wednesday, swimming on Tuesday, choir on Thursday and piano on Friday.

My cousin is always nervous. Even when she's tired, she can't have a break until she finishes her homework and the extra exercises given by her father and the tutors.

She has to put up with a lot of pressure. I feel bad that I can't help her.

Chloe, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

From the Editor

Thanks for your letter, Chloe. I think many students in Hong Kong share your cousin's problem.

Parents, who are anxious for their children to have a better life than theirs, often micro-manage their children's education. They firmly believe academic excellence is the key to a successful life.

This has good and bad effects. On the negative side it can stifle a child's natural instinct to learn. It can place undue stress upon the child and cause her to associate school with feeling uncomfortable.

On the good side it disciplines the child who benefits from the added focus. Classes in Hong Kong are very big and children may not get the attention they need during lessons.

Asia, especially China, is a very competitive place. It is always difficult to know how best to prepare a child for that kind of future.

One thing you can be sure of is that your cousin's parents love her dearly and only wish the best for her.

Susan, Editor