English has edge over Putonghua
I think English is more important than Putonghua for local students. English is an international language which helps us to communicate with people from other countries.
The Hong Kong government encourages students to study subjects like physics, chemistry and biology in English. Also, students need to pass English if they hope to enter university. The language plays an important role in the workplace, too.
Some people argue students should concentrate more on Putonghua because we need to enhance our links with the mainland, which is an emerging superpower. Also, millions of mainlanders visit Hong Kong every year and this can boost our tourist industry. We need more people who speak Putonghua to take advantage of the mainland's economic boom, they say.
Despite these benefits, if you compare the two languages, I am sure you'll agree that English is more important than Putonghua.
We must do our best to get good results in English. This can pave the way to a bright future.
Vic Wong Kwong-ying, Caritas St Joseph Secondary School
Give low-achievers a chance to shine
A few years ago, there was a slogan: 'Learning is not only about marks.' But Hongkongers have shown that they put good grades above everything else.
Top scorers in examinations make it to the front pages of newspapers here. They also appear on television and are praised by their teachers and parents.
I think low-achievers who have hands-on experience tend to be more flexible and creative than the 'stars' who have gained most of their knowledge from textbooks.
However, society usually turns a blind eye to talented youngsters just because their grades aren't good enough.
In the end, their dreams are shattered and they become frustrated. They don't even get a promotion at work because they lack the 'paper qualifications'.
The government says the new 3-3-4 education system focuses on the all-round development of students. But teachers still tell us that if we don't do well in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education and enter university, it will be hard to get a good job.
The new curriculum shows the government is aware of the undue emphasis on marks.
They could perhaps tell employers to be more open-minded when hiring new staff.
Then youngsters with lesser qualifications but more creative minds will get a chance to shine.
Education for all should be the aim
I am writing to draw your attention to the problems faced by the children of migrant workers on the mainland. Because of the household registration system, they are not entitled to free education in the city. Some of them go to private schools which charge high fees but have low education standards.
They are in a very difficult situation. The children can go back to their home towns and receive a better education. Most of them come from farming families in rural areas. However, because of the poor harvest and high taxes, many farmers have chosen to work in urban areas so their children have no choice but to follow their parents.
It is not fair to prevent these children from receiving a good education simply because they were not born in the city.
The central government should abolish the household registration system and give more support to farmers to help them increase their production and lead a decent life.
Competition benefits customers who can buy better-quality products at a cheaper price. These days, there's a huge number of television advertisements, posters and websites promoting all kinds of goods and services.
Promotion is definitely an important weapon for businessmen to boost their fame and income.
The benefits of competition are two-fold.
First, manufacturers will conduct a lot of research to ensure their products are of a high quality.
Second, the goods will be sold at a lower price to attract more customers. This is the best way to reduce the profits of rival businesses. Under this system, the customers are big winners.