Career and life planning classes not doing enough to prepare HK students for choices after school, HKFYG think tank says

Too much emphasis on higher education and not enough information on different career pathways among concerns

Wong Tsui-kai |

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The HKFYG Youth Research Centre team said the government needs to take steps to improve career and life planning education.

A Hong Kong youth think tank says that the career and life planning education classes in the city’s schools are not diverse enough.

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Youth Research Centre found that nearly 30 per cent of students think the classes did not help them learn more about the various pathways after education. They also thought the way it is taught now does not match what they need – particularly in career- and employment-related areas. Both students and teachers said they were the least satisfied with this aspect.

The think tank surveyed 751 people aged 12-24 and teachers from 103 secondary schools, and interviewed 23 youths in focus groups and seven experts.

Hong Kong students are less prepared for the future than their counterparts from Singapore, Japan, and South Korea

The research found that, while people are generally accepting of the meaningfulness of career and life planning education, they think it can be improved. The report suggests increased professional training for teachers to improve the quality and importance of teaching; allowing teachers to find other fields of work during breaks between terms to improve their knowledge of the labour market; and for the government to subsidise businesses, to encourage them to offer more work experience to students.

“There are more internships for university students, but career exploration and job experience opportunities are lacking for secondary students because of regulatory and financial reasons,” said lead researcher David Wong Ka-yu. “There need to be incentives for companies to provide these places.”

The think tank also found that there is too much emphasis on higher education. “[Career and life planning is] too academically focused,” said researcher Derren Lam Wai-yip. “There needs to be information about opportunities and options for more vocational focuses – but not all schools are willing to provide it.”