Confrontation: Mainland China Crackdown on Private Lessons – Should Hong Kong Ban Private Lessons? – JP

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For: Teresa Kwok, 16, South Island School

Many students benefit from private lessons as they receive additional support in their studies. However, many parents in mainland China push their children to take private lessons to stand out from their peers. The same is happening in Hong Kong, so banning private lessons here would help students take breaks from schoolwork and relieve stress.

The ban on private lessons reduces the pressure on parents and students in the city’s hyper-competitive education system. Hong Kong students are often forced to take private lessons to pass their exams. Students often do a lot of previous work to develop their exam skills, but it can cause them to lose motivation to study and discover new interests. This excessive drilling is the reason why private lessons should be banned.

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Students in the city already study in a rigid and competitive environment, with lots of homework and tests. Private lessons intensify the competition. If a student receives more training, others will apply to tutoring sessions to improve their exam skills.

Attending these additional classes also prevents students from exploring other interests. For example, many elementary school students are forced to attend tutoring sessions for each subject, rather than going to extracurricular activities such as sports and the arts. This then hampers their development as a well-rounded person.

One-to-one lessons are harmful to the health of pupils, especially for elementary and kindergarten pupils. While this is supposed to promote children’s learning, students don’t have time to rest, which affects their mental and physical health.

The private tutoring ban will stop the growing competitiveness of our city’s education and help students be healthier and more balanced.

If private lessons are banned, will Hong Kong students really be better off? Photo: KY Cheng

Against: Alexander Bray, 17, Island School

Hong Kong should not ban private lessons. The move would be catastrophic and put the guardians out of work. Tutoring is important for three main reasons: catching up with peers, helping with language acquisition, and gaining an edge for college.

When a student is grappling with a subject in school, conventional wisdom says to give them more help so that they can understand the concepts.

The Hong Kong school curriculum is tough, and the knowledge and skills to stay at the classroom level can often be overwhelming. Often extra help is needed just to keep up with the class. In addition, some students may have learning difficulties and need specialized tutors in order not to fall behind.

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Another important benefit of tutoring is that it helps with language acquisition. The best way to acquire a new language is through hours of practice, and the hours in a classroom at school are not enough to acquire fluency. Tutoring is especially useful for those studying difficult languages, such as French or Chinese.

Finally, Hong Kong has a competitive academic culture that is directly linked to the use of tutoring to achieve better grades in college preparation.

Many schools abroad regard the city’s students as high quality applicants due to their hardworking attitude and high academic standards. To maintain Hong Kong’s current reputation, it is imperative that tutoring continues to help students excel. For many, private lessons also give them the opportunity to explore subjects they enjoy at a more advanced level than what might be offered in their schools.

The tutoring industry is a valuable asset to Hong Kong students for many reasons, and the government should not ban private lessons.


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