Battle to upgrade academic status
I am studying for an associate degree programme after graduating from Project Yi Jin, the HKCEE alternative. I believe society discriminates against us, when compared to more academic students.
Many Form Five school leavers find it hard to adapt to the city's competitive environment, or to become independent. Some develop psychological problems - they are lonely, confused and lack self-esteem. They don't know what they are going to do in the future or how they can succeed.
Such uncertainties affect their motivation to study, and could lead to social problems in the long term. I think all students deserve equal treatment as we battle to upgrade our qualifications.
Yip Chun-wai, Hong Kong Institute of Technology
Need to clean up our act
During a hike one day, I saw a barbecue site littered with tissues, aluminium cans, and plastic utensils and bags. I wondered why there was so much rubbish all over the ground. Is it really that hard for people to pick up their rubbish and put it in a bin?
Hong Kong is a well-developed city but our behaviour is harming our image. And the impact can be seen in country parks and many other places in the city.
In Western countries, there aren't many bins, but we still don't see rubbish on the ground. In Hong Kong, rubbish bins are located every few hundred metres but we still see a lot of trash on the street.
The government should take steps to make Hong Kong a cleaner place. For example, there should be tougher laws for littering, with heavy fines and even imprisonment for repeat offenders. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department should instruct its officers to strictly enforce the law.
Such laws, along with education campaigns, are the only way to deter people from littering.
We have to remember one thing. Keeping Hong Kong clean is not the sole responsibility of the government. We should not rubbish the city with our poor behaviour.
Yuen Tze-hin, STFA Tam Pak Yu College
Ways to help school leavers find jobs
There are a lot of school leavers who have no jobs. This is a serious problem.
While students who get good results are praised by their teachers and parents, those who fail to make the grade are regarded as losers by society. Who is responsible for this? Is it the students or the city's education system?
Hong Kong puts too much emphasis on exams. As a result, students who have talent in music, art and sport, rather than academics, fail to reach their full potential.
Without recognition from their teachers and parents, they lose interest in their hobbies as well as their studies.
Hong Kong's service industries require people with innovative ideas and high educational levels.
What's more, many big companies have cut costs, which means school leavers have less chance of getting a job.
There are two ways the government can help. First, it should offer more courses, ranging from music and painting to hair-styling and fashion design, to those who have little interest in mainstream education.
Second, the government can encourage non-profit enterprises to employ school leavers in various social projects. With hands-on experience, they will have a better chance of finding work.
School leavers should never lose heart - they must believe in themselves and they can succeed.
Kan Man-ki, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School
Homework: quality matters
Many students complain they have too much homework and revision. They say they have no time to do other things, like exercise, which is good for their health.
The most important factor for students is time management. This is essential if they are to become all-round students.
On the other hand, teachers should know that giving a lot of homework doesn't mean students will learn everything they are supposed to learn. It only puts extra pressure on them. In terms of homework, teachers should concentrate on quality, not quantity.
Leung Wai-man, POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School