When you look at the league tables for schools and literacy there are a few countries who seem to have just ’got it right’. Of course there are fluctuations but a number of areas always score consistently well in all areas of basic literacy. There are several Scandanavian countries from Europe, but one area that is almost always there is Hong Kong. So what makes this ex-British colony so successful at educating it’s youngsters?
There certainly seems to be a huge emphasis on simple hard work. The colony as a whole was built on this pretext and it’s education system reflects these roots. Unlike many countries, the concept of class is virtually unknown – if you need to better yourself and your lives then education is the major route.
Many also point to the fact that Hong Kong itself has little in the way of welfare benefits, the state is not there to step in for people who need them. Parents invest in their children as a form of pension, obviously this means there is much more incentive for the child to succeed. Parents also are known for their diligience and take an extremely keen interest in their childs education. Ever heard a parent complaining to a teacher about lack of homework – it’s something you’ll hear regularly in HK.
Parent’s also invest heavily in extra tuition and classes for their children. It is estimated that over 70% of secondary school pupils have some form of additional private tuition. The curriculum is very traditional and extremely academic with core subjects which include Chinese, Maths and English. There are other classes on art , music and drama but these are normally trimmed back in later years and especially during the run up to examinations.
Hong King also has an extremely modern infrastracture with for example very high broadband speeds. Also Hong Kong does not suffer from the restrictive internet censorship that is practiced in China or like this in Iran, where you’re likely to get blocked a lot -in HK it’s not necessary to spend time learning how to sidestep the firewall and video blocks – like this - over and over again.
Critics would argue that Hong Kong should be ranked highly purely because there entire focus is on examinations. There is a selective education system which rewards the best results with access to the better secondary school. The pressure on young children though to succeed is extremely high and opinion is divided whether this does lead to long term benefits.