EAST Asian education, which values diligence rather than predetermined aptitude, has prompted Western educationalists to re-examine their teaching approach, a prominent Hong Kong educationalist said. Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Leung Kuk C.W. Chu Prevocational School last week, Dr Cheng Kai-ming, dean of the Department of Education at the University of Hong Kong, said since the recent publication of a book which highlighted the failure of US education, many people had started valuing East Asian education especially that of China and Japan. 'The book examines the reasons behind the failure of US education and how it could attain the level of success enjoyed by China and Japan 'Traditionally, European or Western education focuses too much on students' aptitude. But Asian education encourages hard work.' The differences between the two philosophies had underlined the superiority of the education offered in Asian countries, he said. Hong Kong prevocational schools, Dr Cheng said, were following this philosophy. 'I have attended more than 10 speech days at prevocational schools recently and I feel these schools are conducting valuable courses which directly cater to the needs of the students. 'When prevocational schools first started in Hong Kong many years ago, one of their main objectives was to allow students to study different courses which could make the best use of their abilities and I'm glad this objective has been successfully implemented,' Dr Cheng said. 'Back in the 1960s and '70s only two per cent of secondary school students could go on to higher education, but now about 18 per cent and 7.5 per cent can achieve university and higher education, respectively. 'Those 98 per cent students who could not get higher education back then were perceived as not suitable for study at all. 'But today students can either choose one of the six universities to further their studies or go overseas.' To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the school opened its premises to the public for two days during which musical entertainment, games and art displays were organised.