Why does the South China Morning keep printing these absurd letters?
In defence of local school system
I read your report ("Plea to improve public schools", February 14) with misgivings, appalled by the city's self-styled democrats' servile submission to expatriates' blatant chauvinism in the education debate.
Off to a a strong start there, with attacks on the democrats and expats in the first sentence, though purists might argue that readability has been sacrificed by cramming so much prejudice in to such a small space.
Indisputably, international schools are gaining popularity among local parents. But popularity often reflects superficiality and measures neither quality nor depth.
Well that would be a telling point - if we were talking about X Factor. Not sure that it’s quite so valid when local parents are spending their own hard-earned money on fees for international schools. But wait, there’s more.
International schools are less demanding than local schools, with simpler syllabuses and easier examination grading standards. They seldom participate in inter-school sports competitions and music festivals where local schools dominate. Local schools' high average standard is evidenced by the very top positions which local students consistently achieve in various international scholastic surveys.
Wouldn’t you expect local schools to dominate in music festivals, what with there being so many more of them? And, yes, we know that Hong Kong examination results are outstanding in several subjects, but international schools also achieve very good results, and they provide a more well-rounded education.
Against rampant disparagements against local schools, which in effect are veiled criticisms of local teachers' incompetence, Cheung Man-kwong, a local teacher who represents the teaching profession in the legislature, has neither defended the local system nor proposed ways to improve it.
Another long and convoluted sentence, and I’m not sure that dissatisfaction with local schools implies criticism of teachers - surely it is more the system that is under attack.
He [Cheung Man-kwong] has been a staunch proponent of segregation. His demand to restrict local enrolment in international schools serves to grab political capital by appeasing both foreigners who abhor local competition for international education and those local teachers who fear job security if local students opt for international schools.
What if, contrary to objective measures, international schools were somehow "superior" to local schools? Shouldn't local students have equal access to the "better" education of international schools which have benefited from land grants, the city's most precious resource?
I’m getting confused here. Are local schools better than international schools or not? Anyway, it’s irrelevant whether land is used for international schools or government schools, because it has the same impact on the supply of land. And let’s not forget that if there were no international schools it would cost the government a lot more money to provide education for all those students. The ESF subvention is currently less than half of the payment to DSS schools (which is supposed to match what it costs the government to provide a school place), and other international schools get nothing.
Kashimura Fujio of Hong Kong Japanese School observes that, unlike Hong Kong's expatriates, many expatriates in Tokyo send their children to local schools. Why? Japanese schools can't be more "international" than Hong Kong's local schools in teaching medium and curricula. However, as the Japanese respect their local schools, expatriates in Japan properly learn to respect the education standard of the country which offers them employment opportunities.
I think we are getting to the real point. Foreigners shouldn’t be so difficult - if Hong Kong schools are good enough for locals they should be good enough for foreigners. If only locals would be more patriotic and ‘respect’ local schools, all would be well.
The local education system is not impeccable. But we may never improve our schools if our political leaders lack the moral courage to overcome the inferiority complex of their colonial mentality.
Of course, that must be the explanation: Hong Kong has a huge inferiority complex.
It's time we recognised local students' achievements and publicised local education's high standard.
We must outgrow the colonial practice of double standards in education and cease subsidising international schools, which skirt the local curricula and fail to prepare students for local exams. Fruitful diversity with a fair standard for equal application to all stakeholders should be distinguished from discriminatory segregation based on privileges and prejudice.
Pierce Lam, Central
Ah, yes, fruitful diversity. One of my favourites.