Career and life planning scheme needs to help foster futures - not just success

By Caroline Sin, vice-chairperson, The Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters
By Caroline Sin, vice-chairperson, The Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters |

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Students with their DSE results to apply the Central Admission Scheme 2015 at the Haking Wong IVE Central Admission Centre in Cheung Sha Wan.

Local secondary schools have received a HK$500,000 grant for career and life planning (CLP) for almost two years now. But disappointingly, the primary use of it has not been in line with the blueprint published by the Education Bureau.

For one thing, there is a huge gap between the amount of additional resources given to a school and the amount of additional manpower allocated to the school’s CLP efforts. Another example is the use of the grant solely to buy one-size-fits-all services, which can hardly cater for the diversified needs of individual students.

The best thing about the CLP scheme is that it respects the uniqueness of every individual. CLP, together with each school’s carefully designed educational programme, can address students’ individual needs in pursuit of successful school experiences and a purposeful direction.

However, diversity and customisation seem to have been forgotten in Hong Kong’s drive for success.

Another issue is that many people have wrongly labelled CLP. Some think it is only for “low achievers”, as they need more help getting a job than others. This is completely inaccurate. CLP should be for everyone; be they academically strong or weak.

There has been a lot of coverage on the recent spate of suicides, which is due to academic pressure. Students having a clear idea of where their future lies, with sufficient guidance and support to make it happen, is one of the key ways in which we can reduce these suicides.

Let’s hope that the primary use of the CLP grant can be kept as it was intended, and our students can look forward to a better future.