An exchange student's view of Hong Kong's educational system

An exchange student's view of Hong Kong's educational system

After I came to Hong Kong for my secondary school exchange four months ago, so many different things have surprised me.

Some things, like the willingness to share with others, make me so happy, and I want to take that back to Norway, my home country. Other things, mostly from school, make me quite upset.

At first, I thought the reason was cultural differences, but when I asked around and read articles, I found that I'm far from the only one who thinks the Hong Kong school system doesn't work well.

What I like the least is that exam scores seem to be the only focus, instead of understanding. I prefer to understand what I'm learning, but sometimes when I ask, I'm told to just remember it, and that the reason is not important, because they won't ask for the reason on the exam.

Another thing is that we never really have time off from school. I was recently introduced to the term "holiday homework". To me, those words don't belong together. I'm also doing homework almost every weekend. The problem is that there's no time to take a break.

School here gives me very little pleasure. The students don't like to go to school. It's not just staying there for eight hours and paying attention all the time, but there are so many rules and so much noise.

If Hong Kong students had a more enjoyable school day and could focus on understanding, they would get better results, be more motivated and enjoy life.

Exchange student

From the Editor

Thank you for your very frank email. It is always good to get an outsider's view of Hong Kong's educational system. I think you will find a large number of Hong Kong students feel the same way.

The sad thing is that everyone knows it is this way, but no one seems to have the power to change it. The Education Department sets the workload, and the teachers have to achieve certain results. Parents want their children to do their best, with some believing that their children should be the best. No one seems to understand that it's OK not to be first.

Team YP hopes you have a lovely stay in Hong Kong, and if you would like to write a bit more about your home for us, we'd love to hear from you.

Susan, editor

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
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