PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 October, 2010, 12:00am

We all have duty to help disabled

Hong Kong has a long way to go to being a world-class city when it comes to looking after the needs of people with disabilities.

Many employers continue to ignore the government's calls to hire disabled staff, most of whom are capable of performing many duties in the office or workplace.

The government also does not provide enough facilities and help for the disabled, adding to their daily burden. For example, people confined to wheelchairs waste a lot of time trying to find restaurants with suitable access.

Public transport is also a problem for the disabled because not many buses are equipped with wheelchair ramps.

The government must take these issues more seriously. Otherwise the disabled will feel frustrated and will lose their confidence. They will not be able to integrate into or contribute to society.

Tiffany Tung Yu-yik, Leung Shek Chee College

Time to boost nuclear expertise

As the mainland tries to diversify its energy sources away from coal and oil, it faces a new problem: a shortage of nuclear specialists.

Nuclear energy can provide the mainland with abundant, clean fuel, but there has to be enough qualified technicians to man the power plants.

There is danger of radioactive substances leaking into the environment, which is harmful to both humans and the ecosystem.

As the central government continues to develop more nuclear power stations, it needs to make sure it has a highly trained workforce to ensure safety and security, especially for handling radioactive waste.

The mainland may need to import foreign specialists in the short term to overcome the shortage. But it must not delay training more specialists now: the six leading universities that specialise in nuclear technology cannot meet the demand.

The government should also educate the public about the importance of nuclear energy to boost their confidence in this kind of energy resource.

Ho Man-ka, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Future of schools at the crossroads

Some of Hong Kong's schools face the threat of closing because of inadequate enrolment.

Two solutions have been suggested. The first, the government's Voluntary Optimisation of Class Structure Scheme, encourages schools to reduce the number of Form one classes from five to four.

By joining the scheme, schools will receive extra funding of HKD$250,000, so both students and schools will benefit. The aim is to improve school facilities and the quality of education. Cutting one class will mean more space and resources for each student.

But there are also some disadvantages. Competition for places at elite schools will be more intense. Some parents will send their children abroad if they cannot enter those schools, resulting in a further drop in enrolment.

The other suggestion calls for small-class teaching across the board. This will greatly reduce the workload and stress of teachers, who will have fewer papers to mark and more time to spend with students. Learning in smaller classes is also more efficient.

Small-class teaching is a global trend, especially in Europe and the US. One disadvantage is that small classes will be more expensive to run. Funding might have to be taken from other sectors such as welfare.

Angie Tai

Learning the art of admiration

Everybody likes compliments. But how many of us know how to praise others? Such a skill offers advantages. It's easier to make friends when you praise people.

But to do so, we have to first find out what they have achieved. This will give us a better insight into their character, and will also help us avoid mixing with bad company.

It's easy to admire people for their strengths, but we also need to point out their weaknesses, because no one is prefect. You cannot blindly admire people. You have to find good qualities in them.

Leong Chun-ho, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College