Pressure of homework weighing on Hong Kong schoolchildren

Global Business

Pressure of homework weighing on Hong Kong schoolchildren

A recent survey found that Hong Kong’s primary school students spend more time doing homework than those in secondary school—primarily because Hong Kong is a highly competitive city.

In the new year, the children there are hoping for less homework.

CGTN’s Li Jiejun reports.

Pressure of homework weighing on Hong Kong schoolchildren

Pressure of homework weighing on Hong Kong schoolchildren

A recent survey found that Hong Kong’s primary school students spend more time doing homework than those in secondary school—primarily because Hong Kong is a highly competitive city. In the new year, the children there are hoping for less homework. CGTN’s Li Jiejun reports.
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Jet Si, an eight-year-old in the third grade says the workload is too much.

“Usually I can finish my homework by 7 pm, and then do other exercises. But sometimes, I can just complete all the work by 9,” the primary school student said.

Jet’s little brother Kevin is in Kindergarten, and is not faring much better.

The five-year old boy has three or four homework assignments every day. Managing the two boys and their homework is nerve-racking for their mother, Linda.

“They have quite a lot of homework and exercises. And there are a variety of exams and assessments. The tests are difficult even for adults to answer. So I have to push him to study, study and study,” said their mother, Linda Yu.

Linda is worried, but helpless.

A recent survey showed that Hong Kong primary students spend more time on homework than their global peers. More than half of primary students get seven or more homework assignments a day. And over 80 percent of them spend more than two hours on their homework.

Some parents say their children have sometimes been given over 20 assignments for the weekend, and have to work until midnight on Sunday to complete them.

A survey shows that forty percent of primary students feel anxious when a new term starts. The pressure comes mainly from the homework. Even if homework is done, most of them have to take extra classes, with no time to rest and play.

Aside from their schoolwork, young students also take additional classes in skills such as painting, gymnastics, French and chess. Over 80 percent of Hong Kong’s primary children are taking 15 hours of extra classes a week.

In a highly competitive city like Hong Kong, the pressure starts even earlier. Two-year-old babies need to participate in interviews to enter a good kindergarten, and then they need to compete for a primary school vacancy. And after that, they must study hard to get into a top middle school.

“I wish I could have less homework in 2016. So I can go to buy all the Lego blocks back and play as long as I like,” Jet Si said.


Dr. Cathy Vatterott discusses global homework trends.

For more on global homework trends, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar interviewed Dr. Cathy Vatterott. Vatterott is a Professor of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, as well as a parent and former teacher and principal.