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