Is the Hong Kong school system pushing children over the edge?
- Children in my generation have lost their childhood too early
- We need a revolution in our education system before more lives are lost
I refer to your article, “Hong Kong teen who skipped class begged teacher to forgive him moments before falling to his death” (December 5), reporting on the inquest into the death of a 16-year-old who killed himself in March after he was threatened with a demerit for skipping school.
Who should take responsibility for his death? Has anyone considered that his death may have been brought about by the education system in Hong Kong?
As a student, I definitely feel the pressure and it is not easy to overcome.
Our education system is horrible. First, we have to finish all the homework assigned by our teachers and submit it on time. While this is seen as a student’s basic responsibility, the amount of homework after a long school day is unbelievable, and this puts great pressure on students.
Some schools hold regular tests and exams to ensure that students revise their work every day. This means children have little time for leisure.
In addition, our education system does not focus on the growth and personality of students, but on academic results. Most students believe getting great marks in exams is the only road to a successful career and good life. This concept mainly comes from parents who themselves learned that studying hard is the only path to success.
Some parents enrol their children in different hobby or tutorial classes so they can “win at the starting line”. They want to give their children their best, but this kind of care has become another form of pressure. Children in my generation have lost their childhood too early.
Is it any wonder that any sudden change might push a child over the edge? We need a revolution in our education system before more lives are lost.
Fung Siu-chung, Tseung Kwan O
If you, or someone you know, are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page