Subject problem lies in operation
I am writing in response to the letter 'Liberal studies is letting us down' (Young Post, December 13, 2011).
I think liberal studies can effectively enhance our critical thinking skills. The exam papers ask us to think about issues from different angles. This develops our analytical abilities.
In liberal studies classes, we are also encouraged to discuss issues in the news. This teaches us communication skills.
Yet there have been some problems in the implementation of liberal studies. First, there are no clear guidelines teaching students how to answer questions. Second, no one has had hands-on experience because the subject is brand-new.
To address the problem, the HKEAA needs to prepare concrete guidelines for teachers and students. It would also be helpful if there were workshops teaching markers how to mark papers accurately.
I hope HKEAA will solve these problems so students will gain more from the subject.
Kenny Chan, Carmel Bunnan Tong Memorial Secondary School
There's more to life than A grades
The Commission on Youth (CoY) recently released its 'Hong Kong Youth Development Indicators' study. Nearly half of the respondents thought the purpose of education is to obtain good grades and hence get a good job.
But education isn't just about getting good grades. It's not only about gaining knowledge to pass tests, but life skills, too. Education is about developing individuals, not just being 'successful'.
It seems that in traditional Chinese culture, the only way to be a leader is to be successful: get good grades, go to university, do a 'good' degree and get a 'good' job.
But according to the CoY survey, a substantial number of university graduates earn less than HK$9,000, whereas a Form Five student can, for example, earn around HK$17,000 if he applies to become a policeman. Good grades are not a guarantee for career success.
I think it's important that we change our way of thinking. There are many important jobs, and not all of them require us to be academic geniuses. We should focus on our strengths, and find work that satisfies us. That way, we can play a more useful role in society.
Chan Sing-leong, STFA Tam Pak Yu College
The arts should not be ignored
I don't think the arts are valued in Hong Kong. Many local secondary schools like mine do not offer visual arts or design as an elective subject for NSS students.
Even at university level, only two or three of them offer such courses.
Some students may think only finance-related subjects like economics and accounting are important for Hong Kong students. After all, this is a city built on financial success. But not everybody has a brain made for business.
Some people are creative in different ways. The arts are a very important way for many people to express themselves.
There are so many different branches of the arts, from music and painting to film and design. I believe it is important that artists of all descriptions share their passion for a better Hong Kong.
After all, our city already has a strong position when it comes to business and finance. What we need now is to enhance our arts scene and encourage everyone, whatever their strengths, to enjoy it.
Lily Siu, Yuen Long Merchants Association Secondary School
I would like to share my views about geography under the NSS system.
Students may be captivated by the world's landscapes. But that doesn't mean we do well in geography exams. But with the NSS, we get to choose topics we are interested in. This makes exam success easier.
The word 'geography' comes from ancient Greek: ge means 'the Earth' and graphe means 'to describe'. This is the main purpose of geography. In this ever-changing world, we must pay attention to how the world transforms.
I believe the subject offers benefits for general life, as well as for academic achievement. It is very important to know about the world around us. I think we can get even more benefits by going on field trips, and seeing our environment first-hand.
Koibumi Cheung Ka-lok, Tseung Kwan O