More than six out of 10 Hong Kong primary and secondary school pupils now receive private tuition, a survey has revealed.
The research by the Federation of Youth Groups in December last year found 63.3 per cent of students have extra-curricular help, compared with 57 per cent in 2009 and 34 per cent in 1996.
A quarter of pupils said they had after-school tuition in order to maintain good academic grades and try to achieve even better results. In a similar study in 1996, not one student gave this reason for extra tuition.
Only about 40 per cent of the 524 primary five to secondary six pupils said they had tuition as a result of getting poor academic results. In 1996, nearly 70 per cent cited this reason, while in 2009 it was the motivator for 60 per cent of those surveyed.
The interviewees spent an average of 4.9 hours on extra tuition every week, more than the three hours of 2009. Over half of them paid more than HK$1,000 each month for the classes.
One third of the students thought tuition was necessary in the competitive Hong Kong learning environment.
Chan Shui-ching, in charge of the Federation's youth research centre, said that as "tip-top" tuition became more popular, pupils were placed under mounting pressure to achieve academically.
"Over 60 per cent of the students did not say they like tuition, but they still do it because competition is becoming more fierce … this puts a lot of pressure on them and affects their psychological and physical health."
Chan also worried students from poor backgrounds would find it increasingly harder to achieve as they may not be able to afford extra tuition.
She hoped the Community Care Fund could give more support to poorer families.
Chan believed the situation in Hong Kong was similar to that in neighbouring Asian countries, such as South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The tuition rate of primary students in South Korea was over 80 per cent in 2011.