2013-09-03    Start of school year thoughts

When I think about education in Hong Kong I become sad. I think of six year olds being forced to attend two kindergartens, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. The same six year olds are often forced to attend summer school classes with lots of homework right through the holidays.

I think of how parents make small children keep studying till midnight, with parents often doing children's homework and pretending that the children have done it. 

I think of the pressure that teachers are under to produce only academic results, leading to the practice of not teaching Chinese or Maths or English, but teaching how to pass Chinese, Maths and English exams. Which leads to the situation where students can pass English exams for twelve years from kindergarten, but not be able to speak much English. 

About sixteen hundred years ago, a famous North African writer, Augustine, said
"free curiosity has greater power to stimulate learning than rigorous coercion".
I hope some day Hong Kong students will be more in an atmosphere of free curiosity and less in an atmosphere of coercion.