Self-disciplined mainland students show why Hong Kong could lose its competitive edge

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 May, 2017, 4:26pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 May, 2017, 10:39pm

A few weeks ago, I visited a mainland secondary school in Shunde with my schoolmates. There have been a lot of newspaper reports claiming that Hong Kong’s competitiveness is in decline. That study trip made me understand why the city’s competitiveness may be at risk.

I found the mainland students to be self-disciplined. They slept in school dormitories and managed their daily lives in a very disciplined way. They washed their own clothes, changed the sheets on their beds and washed their dishes.

After they had done their chores, they returned to the classroom to prepare for the first lesson. There was no teacher monitoring, yet they still did everything that was expected of them.

They were very hardworking in their studies. They shared the ultimate goal of getting a place at a top university.

They revised from 6.30pm to 9pm. I joined them during this period and noticed that they were very efficient in the management of their time. Again, there was no teacher supervising them, but they still remained silent for the whole 21/2 hours, concentrating on their work.

What if Hong Kong secondary schools let students do the same thing with no teacher watching them? Would they show the same level of self-discipline as their mainland counterparts?

The biggest difference between Hong Kong and mainland students is the learning attitude. Most students here were born into families with fairly good incomes. These youngsters have more distractions and sometimes attach less importance to their studies than they should. But, mainland students attach great importance to getting good results in the public exam, entering university and becoming a professional earning a high salary.

Hong Kong students have more advantages, but we should not take our competitive edge for granted. If we do not improve our learning attitude, we may well fall behind major mainland cities.

Michael Kwok Pui-hin, Yuen Long