Face Off: should schools limit the amount of homework they give to students?

Face Off: should schools limit the amount of homework they give to students?

Each week, two of our readers will debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint. This week’s topic is ...

Cedric Li, 17, Sha Tin College

All parents want their children to succeed. For most parents, success comes in the form of their children doing well at school and university, and then going on to make a lot of money. However, when this desire is doing more harm than good, something has to be done.

Schools face tremendous pressure to produce students that perform well academically. Parents expect their children to get good grades, while schools with large numbers of high-achieving students get more recognition, and maybe more funding.

Under Hong Kong’s education system, getting high marks requires lots of studying and memorisation, so schools assign a lot of homework to students. Teachers think that a well-drilled student will do better in an exam than someone with a similar ability but who has had less practice in that particular subject.

I think excessive homework is harmful to students. It puts too much pressure on them and leaves them with little time for exercise. This could lead to mental and physical problems, for example, depression and obesity.

Faced with what seems like a never-ending workload, students could lose interest in learning, eating or, basically, everything. This doesn’t help the government’s objective of producing people who make a significant contribution to society.

The implementation of a homework quota is therefore a good idea. This would help students boost their academic skills as well as social development, allowing them to actually experience the joys of growing up. Of course, some parents might still send their children to tutorial classes if they don’t have enough homework, but with no school deadlines, there would be less pressure on students.

Success is not only about education. So students should be given less homework.

Face off: should the school-based assessment be scrapped?

Tacye Hong, 19, University of Toronto

While many Hong Kong secondary school students complain about the amount of homework they get, as a university student, I just want to tell them: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” The unforgiving truth about a good education is that it doesn’t come easy. While I agree the amount of homework given to some students nowadays may be a little too much, I still strongly believe that it actually helps them and that schools should never impose a limit on it.

Everyone knows that “practice makes perfect”. As long as homework stresses quality over quantity, and isn’t repetitive, I believe that you can always learn something new by doing more of it. Different types of questions help us to see a topic through different perspectives. Even if the questions seem similar, you can use vastly different ways to answer them. This not only helps students learn the material thoroughly, it also prepares them for exams and for further studies.

People argue that more homework means students have less time to participate in extracurricular activities. I disagree. Students learn two very important skills in school – finding ways to cope with stress, and time management. Limiting the amount of homework doesn’t help students develop these skills. Life is only going to get more stressful as we grow up, and having too much homework cannot be compared to what we will have to deal with in the future.

Most secondary school classes end at 4pm and this gives students around six hours to do their homework and other activities. With good time management, most students should be able to have a balanced lifestyle. Here’s another useful suggestion: stop going to tutorials. If you pay attention in class and do your homework, you shouldn’t need any extra lessons.

We all know that we sometimes need to be pushed to do something, especially when it comes to homework. If schools don’t push students by giving them enough homework, then how can they reach their full potential?

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should schools limit the amount of homework they give to students?


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