Death of a Salesman

There are definitely some widely-held myths in Hong Kong society nowadays, perhaps not as serious as the “American Dream” was, but still important enough to affect many of us.

I am most interested in the “myth” of how education should be run in Hong Kong and the belief that it is the be all and end all to society’s problems.

For whatever reason, like most if not all East Asian countries, our culture values education to a great extent. While there is no problem with that in itself, it is the way we put it into practice that is the issue.

The exam-oriented system has gotten so out of hand that students are even under more pressure nowadays despite the HKCEE and HKALE being scrapped for the HKDSE. The introduction of the TSA now introduces high-pressure examinations even for primary school students. Primary Six students not only have to worry about getting into good, “band 1” secondary schools, they have to do extra homework and be “drilled” for these territory-wide assessments.

There are so many resulting problems I don’t even know which is the most worth mentioning. As a rough summary, the excessively competitive nature of HK schools and students alike mean the former burden pupils with intense workloads, supplemented by extra classes. Regular schooling is still not enough if you want that 5**, students are almost “forced” to join cram schools just to keep up with the rest of the pack. The result is students who are jaded, some even suicidal, and have little time to enjoy life or exercise.

Education may be important, but it is not everything, nor is it for everyone.

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