Teams debate if 'star tutors' are worth your time and money, writes Wong Yat-hei
In the first round of the 11th Nesta-SCMP Inter-school Debating Competition, students from Methodist College and Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School debated the motion: Celebrity tutors are good value for money. Methodist College, arguing against the motion, won the debate.
Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School
The contest, jointly organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post, is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
'Star' tutors have been a hot topic in Hong Kong. Methodist College said attending tutorials after school was a waste of time and money. Students spent too much time travelling, so it would be better to study on their own.
Hoi Ping emphasised that private lessons helped to improve students' examination results. This was crucial to advance in Hong Kong's exam-oriented education system.
The central point of the debate was whether tutors were good value for money. Methodist College said celebrity tutors exploited their students.
Its second speaker, Hana Wong, said: 'The tutors are way overpaid. They lead a luxurious lifestyle which is supported by the students. Their classes are not good value for money because there are too many students in a class.
'The tutor goes on and on, with little chance for students to raise questions. If you do not understand what the tutor is talking about, then it is a complete waste of money.'
Hoi Ping responded by saying that in a free market such as Hong Kong, where there is demand, there will be supply.
The school's third speaker, Cherry Kwan, said: 'No one has the right to decide whether the [cost] of the lessons is too high. It is a free market. The tutors are satisfying the demand from students who want to do better in examinations.'
The adjudicator, Jeanie Jordan, an English teacher from Methodist School, felt Methodist College had the edge in the debate and declared it the winner.
She said Hoi Ping failed to successfully rebut the points put forward by their opponents.
'Hoi Ping had a clear line that celebrity tutors satisfy the demand from students. [This] is great, but they were not able to respond to arguments made by Methodist when given the opportunity, which led to their defeat,' she added.
Jordan said both teams spoke with confidence, but there was room for improvement in their presentation.
'Both teams were a little too quick with their speeches. They need to slow down and try to make use of hand gestures. Connection between the speaker and the audience was lacking,' she said.