Yes. A lot of parents think their children need to go to university, because it will be hard for them to find a job without a degree. Parents think that all the work that students do for the DSE should be used for further studying. I think parents in Hong Kong just blindly assume university will be good for their children – they don’t really consider if it actually will help them in life.
Chloe Wong Wing-chi, 12, Scientia Secondary School
Some parents do, and some parents don’t. I think that the main reasons they do this is because of the culture they’ve been raised in and because they know how competitive the world is becoming. Most parents have made sacrifices for their children, too – and maybe that’s something we don’t think about. When our parents put pressure on us, maybe we should think about how it’s for our benefit.
Yoonjung Choi, 14, Hong Kong International School
Yes. Parents want the best for their children, which can lead to them pressuring them to do well in their studies. It is well-meant, but it can lead to a student having low self-esteem, panic attacks, or even depression. Young people don’t want to feel as if they have let their parents down, which they might feel if their parents are always talking about them going to university and they don’t think they can or will.
Suki Hui Hiu-ching, 14, Po Leung Kuk Lee Shing Pik College
No. Nowadays, parents are very open-minded and there are far more ways for students to make a living. Getting into university isn’t as important any more, and I don’t think it is as valued by companies now, because so many people have degrees.
Peter Yam, 14, Hong Kong And Kowloon Chiu Chow Public Association Secondary School
I think parents put the right level of pressure on their children. Extra classes and tutorials are seen by young people as pressure to do well, but they should see it for what it is – support. Many young people won’t do something until they are made to. This affects how well they do in school, which harms their ability to go to university. That’s why I think a bit of pressure isn’t a bad thing.
Tiffany Li, 13, Stamford America International School
Yes – parents spend a lot of money on making sure their children have the best tutors. They want them to get the best grades, to get into the best university. That’s a lot of pressure. When a student presents a bad grade to their parents, they are told off or punished. I don’t think parents realise how much stress and anxiety this can cause.
Ngai Pok-hoi, 14, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School
My mum is always telling me I need to study a lot, because I might not get a good job and have an easy life otherwise. If my grades drop, my mum tells me I have disappointed her. I definitely feel a lot of pressure to get into university.
Tina Lam, 13, Hong Kong And Kowloon Chiu Chow Public Association Secondary School
Definitely yes. We’ve seen a lot of news stories lately about students who hurt themselves because they cannot cope with the pressure of their studies – but we still hear about parents telling their children to do well in their studies and get into university.
Jasmine Cho Li, 14, Cheung Chuk Shan College
Yes, they do. Young people are put through lots of classes and extra tutorial lessons because their parents want them to go to university. Their children are expected to pass every test and exam. Many students cannot cope with this pressure, and they hurt themselves as a result, because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. That is a lot of pressure to put on a young person.
Tsang Ka-Iu, 17, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School
Some parents do! Parents should not exert too much pressure on their children. It is true that university graduates gain access to more opportunities, but parents should allow their children to do what they like and develop their interests. For example, I like painting, and that my English scores are relatively poor. I know English is the medium of instruction in many universities, and I’ve worked hard on both my art and my English skills so as to follow my dream and hopefully turn my hobby into a career.
Ngai Pak-ching, 16, Precious Blood Secondary School
In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:
Is social media a waste of time, or good for communication?
We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to firstname.lastname@example.org by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.