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PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 December, 2011, 12:00am

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Asians not treated fairly by universities

There is discrimination against Asian students when applying to top American universities, according to a South China Morning Post report.

Studies show Asian Americans meet top admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 per cent representation of the US population.

University applications ask for parents' information so admissions staff can work out a student's background. So if they put 'Asian', it is harder for them to get a place in elite US universities. I condemn such racial discrimination.

Asians often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants of other ethnic groups for an equal chance of admission to Ivy League universities.

I am proud to be Asian and would feel uncomfortable if I hid my background. I don't know why the Asians have higher average SAT scores than others, but it's definitely not a reason for them to be discriminated against. Is education based on a person's race or their academic results?

Admissions officers should focus only on students' results, not their backgrounds.

Maggie Chan, King Ling College

School admission system failing in HK

The latest discretionary round of applications to primary schools in Hong Kong has been a hot topic of discussion.

More than half of the parents trying to get children into a preferred school failed to do so. The success rate of applicants has fallen for five consecutive years; this year it hit the lowest level since 1997.

Only 45.5 per cent of the 45,715 children applying won a place in the primary school they wanted.

Many parents try to get their children into primary schools that are thought to have the best reputations. But under the discretionary system, more than one-fifth of successful applicants are brothers or sisters of existing pupils or children of staff. Many other children who already have links to the school also get a place.

A lot of parents don't agree with the discretionary system because it is unfair to many people and reduces their freedom of choice to enrol in schools. The government needs to ensure equal opportunities for all students because the present system is not working.

Kanly Chan Tsz-ching, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Shark-fin ban can inspire others

The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong says it will stop serving shark's fin soup from January 1 next year.

People are being encouraged to choose other dishes as alternatives.

The Chinese often have shark's fin soup in traditional banquets. The expensive soup is often a symbol of status and wealth. If people don't serve shark's fin soup, they lose respect.

Because of this custom, countless sharks are killed, and this has other harmful affects. With fewer sharks around, the number of octopuses increases sharply. This further destroys the eco-balance of the oceans.

People think eating shark's fin helps to rejuvenate the skin, or is good for brain development.

But scientists have proved that shark's fin is not so nutritious and is difficult to digest. If this is true, why do we have such a harmful eating habit?

The Peninsula's ban on shark fin is a big step towards protecting the biodiversity of oceans. Hopefully it will inspire other hotels to do the same. If we all work hand in hand, Hong Kong can play a role in preserving the ocean. Then, we can have a better environment in the future.

Karen Tang Ka-wing, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School

We don't need more national education

The government has proposed a national education curriculum for local schools. It says the new programme will help develop the moral character of students and give them a better understanding of their national identity.

I am totally against this idea. Many students already have a heavy workload. With the new subject, they will have more homework, tests and pressure.

Most of the content, focusing on China's achievements, has been a subject at mainland schools for many years. But many Hongkongers think this subject is a tool for political brainwashing, and hence, the students will lose their ability to think critically.

Bobo Kiang Kit-yin, Pooi To Middle School