The Spoon-feeding Education
By Venus Law - Young Envoy 2018 
13 Aug 2019

Do you like studying? Honestly if your answer is a "yes", I would probably think that you are lying, or else you are insane. 10 to 10, I believe you can hardly find a student telling you that they are enjoying their studies in Hong Kong.



We can see the literal meaning of the term, "spoon-feed", referring to someone is being fed with a spoon, that all their duty is to eat what has been given to him or her.

© UNICEF/UN0202903/Serbia


Similarly, when it is used to describe the education system of Hong Kong, it tells us that students are provided with so much help or information that they do not need to think for themselves.


But, here's the question, is this really do more good than bad to a student's personal growth and lives?


Obviously, there have been opposing voices constantly, though some do not think there is any problem. So, I'm going to dig deeper into this arising issue.


Things we do under this education system

Homework, school projects, tests, quizzes, exams, etc. that’s what on my mind if you ask me, or I should say that's my schedule. Maybe I can also add tutorial classes to the list.


I, as one of the students, studying in Hong Kong, totally agree with those who said "Hong Kong students do not need to learn, they have a package marked as 'the knowledge delivery'. Students nowadays are told what to do."


We arrive at school every day at 8 in the morning, take our books from the lockers, sit down and listen to what the teacher has to say for maybe 8 lessons, have all the notes jotted down, the bell rings and we take our stuff back home.


We are basically having a memory game at school. We submit the homework on time, and revise for every test and exams by memorising the notes we have. If you are hardworking enough, you probably would know all the questions in the exam.

Not only do we need to have all the homework done, this is not enough, we are required to attend at least certain amount of tutorial classes, so that we would not be left behind in school.



Providing social mobility

This could provide the social mobility to the children from grassroots family, who might not be very intelligent. Why do I say so? Just like I said, students are playing the advanced "Spelling Bee Contest".

As long as you have worked hard and studied with all your effort, it's not hard to have average results in the HKDSE, that you could have the chance of getting in one of the universities in Hong Kong.


Comparing to the education system in Hong Kong few decades ago,  when students were required to pass the two public exams -HKCEE & HKALE- to study in the tertiary education, it is easier for the students in these days to get into universities.


Therefore, even children who are not very talented in academics, if they are willing to give up their playtime to study, they could get into university. In that case, they could later work in a relatively physically less-required-job with an average salary, that they could maintain their life without much burden.



Pressure lead to mental illnesses

Students studying under the spoon-feeding education, with all the tight schedule and burdened with much homework, they usually will face more pressure, and thus more likely to have mental illnesses, eg depression.

Suicides among Hong Kong children and adolescents accounted for a quarter of all unnatural deaths in 2012 and 2013. Sources also told that "One in three primary school students in Hong Kong at risk of suicide". One of the major causes is the academic pressure.

When students are mentally ill, it will not only affect their relationships with others, it is hard for them to find happiness in life, which is actually the most important thing.



This education has developed the competitiveness in every Hong Kong students and parents.

Not wanting their children to lose at the starting line, children have many classes since early ages, which would make their childhood miserable.

Parents having high expectations on their kids would give them, the students, more pressure, that without suitable treatment, will as well develop as mental illness.


Study life balance?

I think you might have heard about “work life balance”, how about balancing between studying and enjoying your life then?

Students are often required to have a desirable results in exams, that only having lessons in their regular school is not enough for them anymore. Most of us will now go to extra classes in the tutorial institutions or having a private tutor at home.


Moreover, being a well-rounded person is what makes us at the top of our game. So we will have many extra-curricular-activities after school or at weekend.


When our schedule for our everyday life is already fully packed, we could not possibly squeeze out some time to spend with our family or friends, or even just simply doing our hobby, it could be jogging or reading.


Studying, of course is important, especially at our age, but I have to say that there is a lot more to discover outside the world when we grow up. We have to stay positive and appreciate things.

However, modern Hong Kong students, are so packed up, that they do not know how to achieve a “study life balance”, which is a pity.


Lose their chance of being a kid

Children lost their childhood when they do not have much time to play, do silly things as they have lessons to attend! How much fun could they get when they are all grown-ups, when they don't even have it when little?


Furthermore, this education system does not provide children their own thinking space that they could not explore their our talents and creativity. They are told to study, answers are told when they do not know how to do the question. Their minds are fixed in a long run.

They became robots and do not have to enjoy the rights they should have, like playing, having a happy childhood, but always facing their desk.


Eastern VS Western Schools

While most Eastern countries are having the spoon-feeding education, Western schools, on the other hand, focus more on student participation in discussions, fostering curiosity and encouraging students to challenge ideas.


Students see their role as contributors, not just recipients of whatever is spewed out by the instructor in the classroom. Effort is emphasized upon, but not too much on standardized testing.

In contrast to Eastern schools faulting students and their families for academic failure, disappointing returns from Western students are often made the fault of institutions who have failed to support their learning.


The spoon-fed education emphasises the academic studies, that talents produced in this education system usually tends to work in few industries. For example, in Hong Kong, the development of financial industry is boosting, while the arts industry has been hindered as not much people are in the area.


On the contrary, in Western countries, almost all industries are well-developed, as students could find their own talent and being creative in something that they are good at, and are encouraged to further explore their ability.



Personally, I would appreciate more if we have the Western education system in Hong Kong.


I can see that many talents in Hong Kong are nurtured under the spoon-fed education, but I think that Hong Kong could be an even better city when people are diversified into different industries.

Hongkongers can then do their work and still be doing something that they love. I believe when someone is interested in doing a thing, they will be more willing to put more effort on it.


Also, we could be able to have a "study life balance" & "work life balance", when there is more time for us to just do something we enjoy, but not always academics. That we could have a happier life


How to achieve this goal?

As a young envoy, more of that, a children and a student, I am provided different platforms to help promote us being happy and having a "study life balance".


Social Medias

Entering to the technological era, the first thing that come to mind to promote this message, of course, is the social media!


Nearly all of us now have our own electronic gadgets, communicating with others, doing our school projects, playing games etc. and that I’m sure we check our social medias accounts at least twice a day.


With the use of social media, messages to be widespread are always packed as some more interesting and catchy advertisements, like a poster or a video, that people who saw could easily get the message and remember it.


A simple post on my social media accounts, could already stir up others feeling, reminds people that having a "study life balance" or 'work life balance" is actually an amazing thing, and would try to do some changes to enjoy some fresh air.


Positivity could easily spread from one to another, but solely me working on this will not be enough. So, I am here to call upon you, to use your limited but more-than-enough power, to promote the optimism to your nearest and closest!