Three-quarters of parents believe their kindergarten children are struggling to get on with their peers, a survey found, prompting calls for the government to do more to help young children's development.
The Hong Kong Council of Social Service yesterday released data from a poll of parents with children aged three to six. It found 74.4 per cent rated their children's ability to get on with others as "unsatisfactory". And 17.2 per cent rated their children's ability in this regard as "marginal", while just 8.5 per cent felt their children's ability was "normal". The figures were rounded up and slightly exceed 100 per cent.
Kindergarten teachers also found children were struggling to get along, with 36.7 per cent saying pupils' ability to socialise was "unsatisfactory", while 35.8 per cent rated it as "marginal".
Children from poorer and less educated families were reported to have more difficulty getting along with classmates.
The council's chief executive, Christine Fang Meng-sang, said one possible reason why children as young as three had difficulty getting along with their peers could be a lack of socialising outside of school interaction in their daily life.
"In the past, when the city was less developed, Hongkongers had a lot of interaction with their neighbours. The children and their parents learned how to get along with people through that," Fang said.
She called on the government to subsidise kindergartens so each would have at least one social worker.
The council polled 2,086 parents and the same number of teachers between May and November last year.