Call for end to paper chase

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2001, 12:00am

Hong Kong's education system is based on a set of inappropriate principles which must be changed if we want to improve it.

This society ignores knowledge and worships certificates. Self-motivators able to teach themselves are deemed worthless without the backing of these cherished pieces of paper. They must go through the formal education system to have a chance of starting a career.

This society also believes that many years of studying must be completed with examinations. Sadly, few schools and employers make the effort to assess candidates for factors as important as exam results, such as IQ, personality and broader knowledge.

This exit-based system also forces students to cram in order to pass exams. Such study is of no use to anyone as it is not true learning - it is a means to an end. What is the sense of testing people when they finish their studies? Just to put pressure on them?

Another problem with our current system is that the demand for knowledge is governed by market forces, while the supply of knowledge is controlled by the Government and not the market. Quality control, competition and cost efficiency are also lacking.

Finally, there is a real lack of freedom to choose what and how to learn. Students are forced to learn what other people think is important. Wouldn't it be better to teach history to five students who really want to learn it, than force 40 students to sit in the classroom?

If the Government really wants a knowledge-based society, it needs to employ people at the highest level who are able to think beyond the current education system. Surface-reformers, products of this malfunctioning system, probably will never escape their way of valuing education.


Kwun Tong