Why parents of Primary Three pupils in Hong Kong fear the return of the TSA
I am writing in response to the article, “TSA fears blow up again with 40 per cent of Hong Kong Primary Three pupils now set to sit contentious test” (April 13).
Barely a month after Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung declared that the number would be 10 per cent, the Examinations and Assessment Authority told lawmakers that about 180 schools, 30 of them public, will have all their Primary Three pupils sit the test.
The TSA, or Territory-wide System Assessment, which tests English, Chinese and maths skills, has caused an uproar in society in recent years, with parents and concern groups calling for its cancellation because of the pressure exerted on young pupils.
Pupils are put through relentless drills before they sit the TSA, as schools aim for better results thinking the Education Bureau would use them for rankings. Its revised version, the Basic Competency Assessment, was put through some test runs last year, and was positioned as less demanding and shorter than the TSA.
However, it now seems about 20,000 children Primary Three children would have to sit the dreaded TSA this year. I believe this would have a negative effect on pupils. They may have to face drilling, even though the Education Bureau has pledged to monitor schools on this.
If young children face such pressure at school, they may develop a negative attitude to learning and hate going to class. This will affect their future.
Other than monitoring, the bureau should tackle the problem at its root, that is, prevent any form of comparison between schools using the TSA results. That would be more effective in preventing schools from subjecting children to excessive drilling.
Cindy Tsang, Tseung Kwan O