Summer exchange programme will help Hong Kong students with STEM skills
I agree with correspondents who have called for closer links with the mainland to help advance students’ understanding of science. In particular, I back the suggestion that to encourage Hong Kong youths to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) studies, the best approach is to enhance cooperation with the mainland.
For example, universities which teach STEM subjects in Hong Kong could pair up for exchange programmes with well- known universities in such fields on the mainland.
These could be summer programmes of two weeks to a month, so that schools do not have to pay hefty accommodation costs for living in dormitories or serviced apartments in the mainland. Students who attend the exchange programmes could have their credits counted towards their university’s total credits of the year.
It would be better still if it were made compulsory for all students studying STEM subjects at Hong Kong universities to participate in the summer exchange programme.
If this is not feasible – for instance, if class sizes are too big – then each university could choose students with outstanding scores in such subjects to participate in the programme.
In fact, this is already done by some universities in Hong Kong. My cousin’s daughter has just completed her first year of science studies at Chinese University, and is participating in a summer exchange programme in Canada with 29 of her classmates. The programme lasts for two weeks and will count towards the credits to be carried forward to the next academic year.
This experience will at least help students to understand more clearly which science subjects they are interested in upon their graduation.
It is perhaps also an opportunity for them to have hands-on experience of their dream jobs, and will be a good way for them to enrich their STEM skills.
If pairing up with universities on the mainland is not possible, then the government can consider working with STEM companies and institutions for summer internships. These will certainly broaden the horizons of our young professionals, besides providing them with career opportunities.
Eunice Li Dan-yue, Shanghai