Hong Kong’s pressured students need to know that learning is not about test scores

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 June, 2017, 11:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 June, 2017, 9:25pm

I am writing in response to the article on rising mental pressure on young students (“Hong Kong children suffer greater mental stress and parents can’t cope”, June 11).

Being a senior secondary student in Hong Kong, I strongly agree that youngsters today are extremely stressed out. The heavy workload, tutorial classes and stress from exams are putting unbearable pressure on us.

Indeed, parental pressure is a pivotal cause , but I think many of them have started lowering their expectations for their children because of the rapid increase in student suicides.

In many cases, the stress actually comes from the students themselves. With elitism driving society and given today’s low social mobility, many students are afraid they will be the lowest class of the society in the future, if they are not always the best students in class now. Besides, with the increasing number of foreign or mainland students coming to Hong Kong, the fierce competition between peers also makes a lot of students panic.

Simultaneously, it seems a comprehensive child health policy and a children’s commission are low priorities for the government, while the demand for psychological support services for students has been steadily rising.

I hope the government can enhance the support services for troubled teenagers. For example, more psychiatric clinics should be set up to provide the consultancy services our stressed-out students need. Publicity through TV campaigns and organised talks could convey the correct message to students – and parents – that “learning is more than scores”.

As for parents, it will be good if they can encourage their children, rather than simply blame them or force them to fulfil unrealistically high expectations.

As a student in Hong Kong, I can see clearly the pressure others like me are under. It is hoped we can get more help.

Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O