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HKDSE - Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education

Why Hong Kong students still fight for their degrees, though blue-collar work pays better

    PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 October, 2018, 1:05pm
    UPDATED : Sunday, 21 October, 2018, 1:05pm

    I refer to the letter from John Yau (“Is a degree still worth the time and money for Hong Kong students, when blue-collar jobs can pay more?", October 1).

    Mr Yau questions the value of a degree. He points out that it takes years and hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong dollars to get a degree, but a fresh graduate earns only about HK$15000 per month, less than a blue-collar employee. In addition, it may take another couple of years for a student to repay all their loans.

    I agree with Mr Yau that the negative social stigma attached to blue-collar workers must be removed. All occupations should be regarded as equal. We should respect blue-collar workers’ contribution to society. Only when the stigma is removed, will more students consider manual labour for their future pathway.

    Hong Kong’s children deserve higher priority from the government

    On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree is still worth it. As Mr Yau also notes, our society is becoming more knowledge-based. So youngsters need to be armed with professional knowledge in order to live in a more elitist society. It is harder for blue-collar employees to be promoted to higher positions than degree holders. Although a blue-collar employee may make more money than a fresh graduate at first, the graduate will still earn more and have better prospects in the long run.

    A university degree is a pathway to a more secure future. However, there is a lot more we can do to encourage the younger generation to explore diverse pathways.

    Cheuk Yuen-ting, Tsuen Wan