Students spend 10 hours on studying, not including the time on homework. 92% of students felt pressure in preparing for the HKDSE and 37% described such pressure as severe. One student called our education system a “selection process” for the best. Almost 10 out of 10 students have had private tutoring.
62.5% of students thought that the aim of studying was to satisfy the wishes of parents or relatives.
Youth population that attained post-secondary education level more than doubled from 24.9% in 2000 to 53.8% in 2016, mainly due to the increase in self-financing degrees
63% of teachers were overworked by administrative tasks. 93% of teachers felt burdened by parent enquiries. Despite all this, teachers are expected to keep up with reforms and developments and devise innovate pedagogies with minimal guidance.
The biggest obstacle is the misalignment of stakeholders’ incentives. To students and parents, getting into university and getting a good job seems to be education’s only objective, directly contradicting the rationale of reform.
According to the Commonwealth Youth Development Index 2016, we ranked 116th among 183 countries in the health and wellbeing domain, lower than a number of comparatively less developed countries.
The caseload of the child and adolescent psychiatric teams of the Hospital Authority rose from 18,900 in 2011-12 to 28,800 in 2015-16, representing an increase by more than 50% in five years.
In Hong Kong, suicide and self-harm are the main reasons for youth mortality. In 2016, 69 youth under the age of 24 committed suicide.
On average, students in Hong Kong only have around 6 hours of sleep per day and only 8.4% of youth can fulfill WHO’s advice on accumulating 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Much time is spent on school, homework as well as tutorial classes.
72.9% of youth reported being victims of cyberbullying while 68% reported being involved in cyberbullying. Internet addiction is also a problem.
Extra-curricular activities serve functional purposes. Many youth partake in these activities only to fulfill school requirements, as pressured by parents and peers, and for resume building.
An elitist culture is prevalent in the ecology of extracurricular activities. Parents and schools place high importance on performance. Youth who do not attain “elitist” level in these activities may be discouraged from further developing their interests.
Academic result is the predominant factor in assessing young people’s achievements. Many youth are discouraged from pursuing advancement in their interest areas or making them their life-long passion, due to the lack of societal recognition for non-academic achievements, hardware and software support, and a clear and hopeful future.
While extracurricular activities have become an essential part of many youth’s daily lives, youth from less privileged family backgrounds encounter difficulties in terms of family finances, network and knowledge. Our ideals for whole-person development must not exclude those youth who are in less privileged positions.
We need to enhance the global perspective of our youth. Currently, various kinds of exchange programmes are being organised by the Government, NGOs and private foundations to offer youth experiences and exposures to other cultures. Universities and tertiary institutions also provide academic exchange opportunities for their students to study at an overseas institution for a prolonged period.
Youth spend the most of their social time online nowadays, but they lack the understanding of the safety concerns for online activities and the consequences of their behaviours. Cyber bullying, fraudulent behaviours and malicious hacking of official websites oftentimes happen.
Our youth are increasingly concerned about public policies and civic affairs. According to a 2016 survey conducted by AIESEC Hong Kong, 71% of surveyed youth expressed that they were willing to make an effort to improve Hong Kong.
Youth voter registration and turnout rates have risen. 67% of our youth aged between 18 and 25 are registered voters (374,000). We have an increased turn-out rate for elections in recent years. In the 2016 Legislative Council election, 55% of voters aged 21-25 went to the polls, up from 46% in 2012.
The Internet is the main platform for their civic participation. According to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups in 2014 on youth’s online social participation, 68% of the youth respondents of that survey reported that the Internet is their main source of information on current affairs.
Their participation, however, seems to stay online only. A study on Youth Political Participation and Social Media Use in Hong Kong conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows that the majority of youth have not participated in offline political actions.
Currently, the government consultation channels do not appeal to youth. Many youth found the consultative and engagement sessions not effective enough to engage youngsters. The Internet is being under-utilised for the purpose of information dissemination and opinion collection. Youth representation in government advisory and statutory bodies varies.
In Hong Kong, we have a lot of youth volunteers, but their motivations for volunteering vary. While many are motivated by their desire to contribute and incentivised by the personal learning and network gained, many youths expressed that they participated in the voluntary services so as to fulfil the requirement for Other Learning Experiences (OLE) for the DSE curriculum.
Information source: A survey conducted by CareER in 2016