Overseas Education

11



6D Chimney Chui

 

Learning English through Social Issues

Many parents in Hong Kong are sending their children to other !countries to complete their schooling. Write an article for your school magazine examining two reasons for this phenomenon. You should also discuss the impact of this on local schools and on children who leave to study overseas.

 

Schooling, Not in HK!

Under globalization, the interaction among countries has soared, ranging from international trade, scientific development, to even schooling. Likewise, it is common to see that parents in Hong Kong sending their children abroad  complete their schooling. In this article, the 2 main reasons for this phenomenon will be scrutinized, and the impact of this on local schools and on children who leave to study overseas will also be discussed.

One of the contributing factors is that parents view overseas schooling as a better alternative for all-round development of their children. When children are studying overseas, they will be exposed to an English-rich environment, and in the meanwhile, they would have more chances to meet friends from different walks of life. Other than learning different languages, and practise them in daily conversation, children can also build up their interpersonal skills and social network by making friends with foreign exchange students, in turn, cultural interflow can be boosted too. Besides, western teaching advocates outdoor and interactive teaching, and investigative projects are often being used as a learning tool. It not only allows children to learn in a fun way and helps cultivate their interests towards learning, but also initiates children to think more independently, learn more beyond textbook. Without routine lessons, children are expected to learn with less stress, and their curiosity, creativity and hunger for knowledge would be aroused. Realizing these are the benefits and experiences which can only be gained from overseas schooling, parents think that overseas schooling is more beneficial to children’s holistic development, so more and more of them are sending their beloved children abroad, to pave a better way for their future.

Apart from the benefits of overseas schooling, the education system in Hong Kong nowadays fails to fulfill the needs of children. The choices of subjects provided by both Hong Kong secondary schools and universities are limited, which cannot satisfy all children with their preferences. For instance, not all secondary schools provide courses of visual arts, English literature, etc; there are no architecture, vet, food science programmes in any universities in Hong Kong. So, if children who like these subjects are studying in Hong Kong, somehow they are drifted apart from their dreams, which is indeed a torment. In addition, the existing entry barrier for Hong Kong universities is too demanding to some of the students, not just because they are not good at the 4 core subjects, but also there is a vast shortage of university places due to few numbers of tertiary institutions with rising number of applicants. So, in order to let them study their dream subjects, parents send their children overseas to study. Above all, it Is not rare to see that a Hong Kong  university graduate fails to get a job. Therefore, more and more parents send their children overseas to let them study with more options, and to luster their resumes ensuring a better prospect.

The above reasons attribute to the phenomenon. This phenomenon also causes impacts on local schools and on children studying overseas.

When more and more children leave Hong Kong to study abroad, the number of local students will subsequently drop, which causes certain impacts on local schools. On the face of it, fewer and fewer local students studying in local schools may cause some of the schools unable to run anymore. Hence, there will be a surplus of teachers in Hong Kong. In the other hand, it may also be a juncture for schools to implement small-class teaching simultaneously, catering for each student’s learning progress, so it may even improve the teaching quality and effectiveness, strengthen the sense of belonging of students towards the schools.

To the children studying abroad, there are both positive and negative impacts as well. By studying in foreign countries, children would have chances to experience Western cultures, polish their languages so as to boost their competence. Therefore, it is good for them to have a broad horizon over the global village, to be more adaptive to international integration. On the contrary, being exposed to a Western-cultural society for long, their understanding about Chinese and thus their loyalty towards Hong Kong and China would probably be weakened. Hence, the identity of being a Hongkonger may be devalued in their hearts.

To sum up, if Hong Kong’s education system does not undergo any revolution, the phenomenon of parents sending their children is going to be more and more common. As a result, Hong Kong may either receive the presents of elite students, or risk losing indigenous talents, which is still a unknown ending, and can only be tested against with time.