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What's behind Student suicides in Hong Kong?   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-2-26 20:13:57 |Display all floors

The two boys put on their school uniforms, left home and then killed themselves.

A 15-year-old leapt to his death at Times Square in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay; days before, he told his parents that he was unhappy at school.

This month, at least five students in Hong Kong took their own lives.

Another was stopped by authorities. She told her family that school pressures were just too overwhelming. She is 12.

It's the latest in a rash of suicides by students in Hong Kong. Thirty-five students took their own lives in 2016; one was just 11 years old. Between 2010 and 2014, Hong Kong saw an average of 23 student suicides a year, according to the University of Hong Kong’s Center for Suicide Research and Prevention.

Hong Kong's education system is famously cutthroat, and experts compare it to a pressure cooker. The government's Territory-wide System Assessment system tests students regularly starting in third grade. Schools are judged on their kids' scores. Students are forced to compete for limited spots in the country's university system. At a hearing on the territory's education system, one fourth-grader compared going to school to going to prison. “In the classroom, I was not allowed to move, drink water, eat, go to the toilet, or talk,” Chan Yu-ling said at the hearing. “The teachers spent little time teaching. We spent most of our time doing mock exams.”

Cheung Siu-chung, a secondary school history teacher and member of the Hong Kong Professional Teaching Union, told Quartz that the suicides are “the accumulative effect of the education system.” “Under this education system, students are evaluated like stocks, and teachers are like fund managers who need to boost the stocks,” he said. “How can you expect students to not feel pressure?”

Children are now starting university earlier, thanks to a 2012 shift in the education system that sends students to college a year earlier. “Students are entering university at a younger age. They might not be mature and prepared enough to deal with challenges and lack the closer network present in secondary school, for example,” one expert told the South China Morning Post. Ten of the 22 students who committed suicide since the start of the current academic year were in university. (Between 2010 and 2014, the average was two.)

Experts say, too, that young children spend too much time online. “This generation grew up with the Internet. Although they are more connected, they also tend to look only at things they like. They might not understand complicated or different views on an issue. For anyone who sees things not fitting their taste, they could simply ‘unfriend’ them,” Lee Sing, a professor of psychiatry at Chinese University, told the South China Morning Post.

Less time with family, too, might be contributing to the problem. One expert noted that in most families, both parents work outside the home, leaving them with less time to spend with their families.

The Hong Kong Education Bureau is taking action. It announced new measures to combat the problem, including improved student counseling in schools, more seminars to alert teachers and parents to warning signs and a committee to research long-term fixes. Right now, most secondary schools have at least one social worker. But most secondary schools have more than 1,000 students, so their ability to interact one-on-one with children is limited.

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Post time 2017-2-27 22:40:33 |Display all floors
Hong Kong Education Bureau must take serious measures and action immediately.
Children are future masters. Without them, Hong Kong is empty!

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Post time 2017-2-28 07:44:24 |Display all floors
Students are not just pressure-cooked by the regime of exam hell but also by the pigeon holes and hovels they live in. The high density of dwellers makes for an impersonal and uncaring environment in which everyone feels like a marginal cog in the perpetual wheel of the gigantic grey and relentless machine of urban life. All feel they are alone in a big world which they cannot communicate feelings and situations even if they can still communicate words.

Their handphones and computers draw them further away and inwards, enlarging their mental pain which unlike physical pain cannot find easy balm of relief. But such virtual realities are in themselves as unreal as the stressful physical world they trudge through everyday.

Influenced further by the violence as depicted by the gore of animes and manga, their hope of a smooth storyline for humane personal development is displaced by an avant garde narrative of the cheapness and triviality of life, ending the fairy tales they were read when tiny.

They could not reach out to family members because all are individually wrapped in their own worlds and too busy to hear for that matter listen and respond with kindness and decisive solution. They kept the stress to themselves because they did not want to disappoint hopes placed on them to do well even as they face daily insurmountable problems of putting endless masses of equally impersonal facts into their heads which are still growing and trying to answer questions to subjects they see as panicky chores because they have not yet seen the connections. They are adults not arrived.

If this holistic view is missed, counseling will only provide temporary and indifferent relief; more focused solutions must be added, integrated, promoted and applied constantly.

Equally important it is an adverse social trend of modernized urbanization. Started in Japan, it has moved to Korea and now to HK SAR. Next?

I understand there was a survey of China's student recently which showed that while they could address to themselves personal values, they had less ability addressing themselves across to others in certain matters. This inwardness is understandable because of the large numbers. But it is also of concern because that situation if not monitored wisely can flip to the situation we have just discussed.

We must always be acutely aware of everything that happens around us. No coin has only one side.

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Post time 2017-2-28 08:55:28 |Display all floors
Do you know that when a person kill himself before time, the other world would not accept you immediately. You become a wondering ghost until your time is due.

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Post time 2017-2-28 12:22:03 |Display all floors
Very sad

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Post time 2017-2-28 17:17:59 |Display all floors
GhostBuster Post time: 2017-2-27 22:40
Hong Kong Education Bureau must take serious measures and action immediately.
Children are future ma ...

I am me and that is something you will never be, no matter how hard you try!!

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Post time 2017-2-28 18:03:07 |Display all floors
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