HKDSE - Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education

Hong Kong DSE pupils feeling the pressure? Blame competitive society, not pushy parents

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 2:31pm

I refer to the poll that showed stress levels over the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exam are at an all-time low, but parental pressure is still an issue (“Exam stress down for Hong Kong students, but pushy parents are still a problem”, April 8).

I disagree. Exam-related stress does not come from pushy parents. The competition to enter university, fears of weakness in a particular subject, and concerns about the future are the main causes.

Secondary Six pupils feel they need to prepare better to confront this citywide public exam. They worry that they will fail to meet their own expectations, or that just a few mistakes may see them denied a place at university. So they drive themselves to be better equipped, which leads to stress.

Everyone has their own weak subject. For most, it is the Chinese DSE paper, dubbed the “paper of death”, which includes classical texts. They may need to do more revision for this than for the other papers, further putting pressure on themselves.

If a student fails one core subject, his or her path to university will be closed and they may need to wait for a whole year to try again.

A competitive society is what makes students put in their all to gain a university degree. Otherwise, they would never be able to find a good job. Therefore, it is unfair to blame Hong Kong’s so-called tiger parents.

Jason Ng, Tseung Kwan O