For the past week the weather has been quite cold and dreary in Hong Kong. Temperatures had dropped to low 40’s, obviously not as cold as Philly, but I never expected the temperature to drop that low so I didn’t pack the right clothes. I asked some of my local friends and they said that this is the first time Hong Kong has ever temperatures this low and this will be their coldest winter yet. I avoided Philly’s snow, but I can’t avoid the cold.
Since this week was cold and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball to keep warm, I wasn’t able to go out and explore the city. So I’ll use this post to talk about the Hong Kong school system, granted I am no expert, but over Chinese new years my cousin and I had an interesting discussion regarding Hong Kong’s education system.
To start off, not everyone is admitted to college in Hong Kong. It goes the same for America, but the emphasis of high education here is grueling. The A-Level examination (Hong Kong’s equivalency to the SAT’s) determines if one will be admitted to the 8 government funded universities (HKBU is one of them) and for the most part, students are conditioned for these exams. But as of the 2012/2013 school year, the Hong Kong government has removed the A-Level examination and replaced it with a new exam, which I an not familiar with.
As she was talking about the examination, I couldn’t help but compare her experience with the A-Level exam with my experience with taking the SAT’s. The A-Level exams only occur once a year while here, we are allowed to the the SAT’s multiple times and are allowed choose our best results for college applications. In my opinion, students in the states have it a bit better because we have some cushion room with our results while here in Hong Kong, students are in a tight situation.
Aside from examination processes, we also talked about the school system in general. In my previous blog post I mentioned that it is perfectly normal that the majority of the classes in Hong Kong universities are taught in English. It is because in the Hong Kong school system English is taught at a very young age. But the quality of the English teachers vary from district to district and if one lives in a “bad” district, it might mean that the teachers in general for that area will also be of “low quality.” My cousin gave her opinion on the matter and said that if one can’t afford private education, which provides the best education, then parents are taking a gamble on their child’s life because where they start education has the ability determine where they will go for college. It was an interesting conversation I had with her and she gave me a lot of insight to the Hong Kong school system, though this is only the tip of the ice berg.