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Thursday, September 29, 2016, 00:27

Govt advised to set up parent-school platform

By Li Yinze

HONG KONG - The government should support local schools by encouraging better parent-school cooperation through various activities, a survey released Wednesday advised.

This move would mainly target students' psychological health amid a rise in student suicides this year.

The pollster, Kowloon Federation of Associations (KFA), advised activities including outdoor extracurricular events and regular gatherings for better communication with students.

About half of respondents believe that caring families are the most useful form of support for students. Some 17.7 percent of respondents believe schools were best when it came to dealing with emotional problems among young people, the survey found.

The survey on education policies interviewed 3,166 Hong Kong people aged above 18. It was conducted by phone from July 24 until Aug 4.

Chairman of the KFA's Youth Commission Frankie Ngan Man-yu said that as well as communication between parents and teachers, promoting life education through various activities was also important. This could include life education courses, visits to orphanages and residential care homes.

As the government, schools, and public have raised concerns over a series of suicides in recent months, Ngan said, “It’s the right time to cultivate positive values among youngsters.”

The survey also found that 40 percent of the respondents believe the implementation of 15 years of free education should be a top priority.

Meanwhile, the city should increase the number of publicly funded undergraduate places in University Grants Committee-funded institutions, the survey advised. Currently, only 18 percent of students in the city can gain admission to publicly funded universities, according to government data.

“The authorities should put more special measures in place to assist local graduates in finding jobs,” KFA’s Secretary General Kin Hung Kam-in said. “Allocating additional resources to strengthen vocational education, for example, will provide more opportunities to senior secondary students.”

A total of 48.8 percent of the respondents consider using Putonghua to teach the Chinese language “helpful” and “very helpful”, the survey further revealed.

Local families also believe that the high prices of textbooks place a heavy financial burden on them. About 44.5 percent indicated that the SAR government should tighten up its monitoring of textbook prices. Another 14 percent believe the situation could be improved through promoting e-textbooks.

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