- A new study conducted by Save the Children found that teens want to be listened to more by their schools and other adults in their lives
- Support for those with mental illness and fighting discrimination top the list of their concerns
Despite the pressure of the last couple of years, most Hong Kong students still believe they have a bright future ahead of them, according to the results of a recent survey.
The “Young Voice” study conducted by Save the Children, an international charity organisation, found that the city’s youth feel weighed down by the pressure of trying to cope with their studies. More than half want to have more say in how their schools are run, freedom to talk about issues that affect them at school, and less control by adults over student unions.
Of the 1151 students aged 12-17 who took the survey, 57 per cent felt like their future was positive.
However, the study was conducted in July 2020, and a lot has happened since then.
It did show that despite being in the midst of a global pandemic and the previous year’s social unrest, the teens were still hopeful. The views come from students of different socioeconomic backgrounds attending a variety of schools.
59 per cent of respondents said they had not felt sad for a long period of time over the 12 months before the study, while 42 per cent said that they had.
Family and school related stress were the main causes of sadness, but 70 per cent of students reported that they knew where to find help to manage their mental health.
A vast majority of students - 90 per cent - said they felt safe at school. However, one in five admitted that they did not know where to seek help for bullying or discrimination, and felt that schools tend to overlook these situations.
Furthermore, more than 80 per cent of students would like more emphasis on creating equal opportunities for their peers, and felt that leaders and decision makers need to take action on situations such as: improving conditions for low income families and disabled students; supporting students with mental illnesses; preventing online harassment; discrimination against ethnic minorities, and discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.
Carol Szeto, CEO of Save the Children Hong Kong, said: “I hope [the findings] inspire actors at all levels of society to prioritise and address the needs of our children. Together, we have to deepen our accountability to children and help build a brighter future for our next generation.”