PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 September, 2010, 12:00am

Put a stop to illegal use of rural land

I am writing in relation to the use of government land being cleared for private development in Tai Long Sai Wan. This case sparked heated debate about the loopholes in the law that allow the exploitation of our country parks.

I see three problems with the government's land policy that need to be tackled.

First, the government has failed to clearly define ownership of rural land, which enables unlawful transactions to be made. Regulations on government-owned land in remote areas should be revised. Updated and detailed information about the land should be made public to prevent unauthorised development of pristine areas.

The second problem is the lack of supervision and resources to monitor government-owned land in remote areas. Without enough security guards and fences, it's hard to protect the land.

The government should also set up a team of inspectors to monitor rural land use and carry out regular site visits. This will put a stop to unlawful development such as deforestation - before it's too late.

Thirdly, punishment isn't severe enough. Heavier fines and longer prison terms should be handed to those who misuse rural land. Tougher penalties would likely deter illegal land use.

The government should also raise awareness of protecting the environment through education and promotional campaigns. Let's embrace Hong Kong's natural heritage and erase the city's reputation of a 'concrete jungle'.

Joanne Lam

System promotes rote learning

A lot of people think Hong Kong students are obsessed with past exam papers. But this is actually the result of the education system.

The Form Six syllabus is very difficult - it covers some subjects taught at university in other countries. It's only natural that students find it difficult to understand what they are being taught. They do past exam papers to become more familiar with their subjects. Although this enables them to answer questions, they do not always understand the concepts, so they cannot apply their knowledge.

Some employers complain that many university graduates are unable to do their jobs well because they do not have the practical skills to do so. I think the government needs to change the education system so that students can break the habit of rote learning. They need to learn to understand the material and think on their own.

Cheung Kin-hing, SKH Bishop Baker Secondary School

Students have little time to be kids

Under the New Senior Secondary curriculum, students face many new challenges, and one of them is liberal studies. They also have to increase their competitiveness - they need to have good academic results and they also need to take part in extracurricular activities.

Liberal studies is a challenge for both students and teachers as it is relatively new.

Parents send their children to tutorial classes to improve their grades. They make their children learn musical instruments, play sports and take arts classes so they will have a better chance of entering a good university.

But they ignore their children's feelings. Children lack freedom, choice and time to relax. This makes them passive, and they lack the confidence to make decisions.

Students work hard, but they might not be doing it for themselves. This seems to have become the norm for Hong Kong students.

Yuji Ng Yuen-chun, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Price to pay for poor behaviour at school

Teachers have good reason to punish students when they break the rules. For example, those who chat or doze in class may be asked to stand in the corner of the room as a punishment. That will help them concentrate.

But if there is a serious breach of a rule, a student's parents should be called in for a talk. If necessary, a student may be expelled from the school.

These punishments act as warnings to others so that they will treat the school rules with respect.

Luk Ho-ting, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College