Schools in Hong Kong nurture pupils to be responsible citizens

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 September, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 September, 2017, 11:23pm

The Economist Intelligence Unit index adopts such high standards that I suspect only saints and gifted pupils can score highly on it (“Hong Kong not equipping students for the future as well as Singapore or South Korea, study says”, September 22).

When the Education Bureau launched the new senior secondary (NSS) curriculum in 2012, it tried to teach students nine generic skills: communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, IT, numerical, self-management and study skills.

Five years on, not all graduates have been equipped with all these skills, but at least local education has been going in the right direction, preparing students for the challenges facing them in an ever-evolving future.

Let’s not forget that the aim of education should not be to churn out meek employees to boost the productivity of companies in the production line.

Schools in Hong Kong serve the purpose of nurturing pupils into responsible citizens who can contribute to society.

That’s a tall order, but different stakeholders have been striving to groom budding talent in the education system. Any talk of our education system being deficient does nothing but deal a huge blow to the morale of those in it.

Schools are where minds are enlightened, not vocational training grounds that serve only corporate interests

No single education system is perfect, but we have to feel grateful for the reforms spearheaded by the Education Bureau, and the efforts put in by principals and front-line staff to improve the quality of education. Of course, there is room for improvement for everybody, but it appears that graduates under the NSS curriculum are far more analytical, reflective, quick-witted and unconventional than their pre-NSS counterparts.

With these qualities, they should be able to fare quite well in whatever careers they embark on.

Understandably, employers would like to recruit well-rounded graduates who can make an immediate, positive impact on their businesses.

However, no single education programme would give students all the tools they need to solve problems they have yet to face. Instead, on-the-job training and mentorship could be provided by superiors to new recruits so that they can integrate into the companies with greater ease. By contrast, schools are institutions where minds are enlightened, but not vocational training grounds that serve only corporate interests.

Both schools and companies should have reasonable expectations of one another in order for them to perform their respective functions most efficiently and effectively.

Jason Tang, Tin Shui Wai