Education in Hong Kong

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Emily Kwan

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Mar 12, 2003, 12:02:09 AM3/12/03
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In view of the government deficit, decrease in government expenses appears
to be inevitable. However, spending on health care and housing should not be
reduced because they

are the basic necessity of our society and the population is increasing.
However, spending on university education should be cut for reasons below.


In fact, our universities have been failing to ensure the qualities of their
graduates. This is the result of overexpansion of university education.


The ability to communicate with one another precisely is a fundamental
benchmark for assessing the quality of the students. Why? The reason is
simply that we gain our

knowledge and develop our notions or theories we study in the universities
through the use of language and nothing else. Our theories cannot be precise
if they are not

expressed in precise language. One cannot interpret the theories correctly
or competently criticize any incorrect view, laws or theories etc., if
he/she does not have a

good understanding the language used. Most of our university graduates lack
such ability and cannot master the use of language.


It is not a secret that, in order to let their students obtain higher
grades, the students' reports, coursework and dissertations etc. are
corrected by the lecturers

themselves before they are graded. Some of them look well organized and
grammatically correct, but only the lecturers make them so and not the
students. The lecturers do

so, because they would lose their jobs if the number of graduates is not
sufficient. If you think I am exaggerating the situation, please go to the
universities' libraries

to have a look of the dissertations "produced by the students" and compare
the standard of English they use in their office/workplace with that in
their dissertations. You

would note a marked difference between them, if your English is good enough.
Only the good quality students can master the use of English. Indeed,
nowadays the universities

are just selling degrees and diplomas to the public and the lecturers are
making their students to believe that what they learn worths what they pay.
However, these

students never master the fundamental skills necessary for reasonable
standard of university education.


I do not mean that we should deprive the public of the learning opportunity.
However, if we are producing university graduates who are below standards,
it would just be a

waste of the resources of our society or money of those paying the tuition
fees. There is no point providing expensive education to someone who would
be clerk for his whole

life. Rather, we may provide some other form of education, which would
benefit him more. Many parents may think that university degrees would be
helpful to the advancement

in the future career of their children. However, these degrees are useless
if their qualities are not up to standards. The employers are complaining
that the standard of

English of the recent graduates is not acceptable.


Our standard of education may not improve even if more resources are
invested in it. It depends more on the intention of the educators and the
quality of the students. If

the intention of the educators is just to make money, it may be difficult
for the general public to know whether these educators are making their best
endeavor to teach the

students.


If we can really assess the English communication skills of the students
with the available English tests such as IELTS, the students should have
obtained good grades in

such tests before they are admitted to the universities to ensure that they
can fully absorb what they are going to learn. It is ridiculous that the
students improve their

English to an acceptable standard only after they have finished their
university education.

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