Students set to sweat as new school term looms
Primary and secondary students are gearing up for a busy after-school life in the coming term, with more than a third saying they will join 11 or more extracurricular activities.
Extra tuition will be one of the most common after-school activities, but there will be some fun, too, with physical exercise and arts classes high on the list.
At the same time, a similar number of students expect high stress levels during the new school year, which starts next month. Many expect to experience exhaustion, irritability and lack of sleep, and have very little time left for their own enjoyment.
These findings are among the results of a survey conducted this month by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, with almost 1,500 primary and secondary school pupils questioned.
Cecilia Ng Kam-kuen, head of the organisation's Youth Counselling Centre, said pupils felt that joining in more activities would help them get into better schools or universities or win awards.
She said: "Children should enjoy doing what they really like. [But] now these activities have become yet another source of stress."
More than 35 per cent of pupils surveyed rated their expected stress levels next term between 7 and 10 on a 10-point scale.
Leonie Chong, an 18-year-old who is joining a vocational school, said she had spent about 20 hours a week on extracurricular activities during her last two years of secondary school and another 20 hours on homework.
She said she sometimes studied until 3am and got only about four hours' sleep because she went home late after activities.
"Sometimes I fell asleep even during examinations," she said. "I became very grumpy and started to bite my fingernails."