Less homework would be better for students' mental health and well-being

Less homework would be better for students' mental health and well-being

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Volunteers help with homework at a Sham Shui Po primary school.
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

Schools should give out less homework so young people can enjoy more leisure time, says a Hong Kong youth development association.

Speaking to Young Post yesterday, the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association spokesperson Chiu Chun-hung said teachers should consider designing homework that helps pupils learn better.

"Teachers should not assign pupils homework that drills them to prepare for assessments. Instead they can focus more on the homework's quality and let pupils complete their tasks at school so they can have more free time," said Chiu.

Primary pupils spend more time on homework than secondary students do, and more than two-thirds also attend tutoring after school, according to a study by the association released on Sunday.

On average, a primary student has to spend 2.38 hours every day on schoolwork at home, compared to 2.22 hours for Form Four and Form Five students.

A total of 1,016 students from 14 primary and 27 secondary schools were polled between September and December last year and compared their responses to a 2002 survey.

According to the findings, 67.6 per cent of Primary Four or Five pupils said they took tutorial classes after school, up from 51.2 per cent in the 2002 survey.

For Form Four or Five students, about 40.8 per cent said they took tutorial classes.

On average, respondents spent 2.26 hours a day on homework, compared to 2.02 hours in the 2002 survey.

Some parents say there's too much emphasis on drilling for assessments and exam grades.

The association called for more leisure time for schoolchildren, saying an excessive workload could affect their mental health.

Young Post Junior Reporter Henry Lui from Sha Tin College said primary school students are generally under a lot of pressure.

"They are stressed already. I don't think increasing students' workload would do much to improve their ability," he said. "It also isn't right for schools to be drilling their students for an exam that has no influence on their future prospects. Let the kids do what they want to do."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Homework: leave those kids alone!

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