Global Education
More than 420 million people would be able to escape poverty if everyone around the world attended primary and secondary education, cutting global poverty numbers in half, UNESCO estimated in a 2017 analysis. If all children in low-income countries learned to read, 171 million people would rise out of extreme poverty. While achieving high-quality universal education might seem like a lofty goal, simply giving parents more information about their children’s education has proven to be a straightforward yet effective method of improving global education outcomes.

Report Cards Improve Test Performance

One 2017 study that the American Economic Review published examined the effect of school report cards on educational outcomes in Pakistan. Pakistan is a lower-middle-income country where only 58% of people aged 15 and older can read and write. By the end of third grade, not even a third of students can write a correct sentence. For the study, the researchers, who consisted of two American professors and one World Bank researcher, randomly chose the students of 56 Pakistani towns to receive report cards while students in 56 other towns did not receive report cards. This study delivered two-page report cards to the families of children in selected towns. The report cards contained the child’s test scores, information about their child’s performance relative to other students and information about the performance of the child’s school.

To test the effect of the report cards, the researchers compared standardized test scores at the time of the report card to scores on the same tests a year later. The researchers found that, in towns where parents had received report cards, students’ scores increased 42% more than students’ scores in towns where parents had not received report cards. In addition to improving performance on standard tests, the report cards also led to a 4.5% increase in elementary school enrolment and a 17% decrease in private school costs. The researchers suspect that these improvements are due to increased parent engagement with education due to receiving the report cards. Despite the notable impact of this intervention, the total cost of creating and distributing report cards was only $1 per student.

Attendance Reports Prevent Dropouts

In 2018, the World Bank published a study on the efficacy of different techniques for improving school attendance. The World Bank conducted its research in Mozambique, a low-income African Country where the literacy rate is only 60.7%. Fewer than one in five children in Mozambique attend secondary education and just 33.2% complete primary education. One of the techniques the researchers tested for improving school attendance rates was creating attendance reports for parents.

The researchers included 2,793 participants from 173 schools in their study. All the participants were girls in fifth and sixth grade at the start of the study. Study participants placed in the group with attendance reports would get a sheet indicating which days they had attended school to give their parents at the end of each week. To measure the effect of these attendance reports, observers would randomly check in on schools to see if the students participating in the study were present that day.

After three years of data collection, the researchers concluded that the weekly attendance reports did increase school attendance. For students who received attendance reports, attendance increased by 6.9% compared to students who did not receive an attendance report. The researchers also found that these attendance reports were just as effective at increasing attendance as a monetary incentive offered to parents.

Applying the Science

More than 600 million children around the world are unable to gain basic reading and math skills, UNICEF reported. While many of these children lack access to education, approximately two-thirds of them are in school and still are unable to gain a baseline education. Education access encompasses not only access to education but access to effective education. Research indicates that taking simple steps to improve parent information about schools by giving parents report cards about their child’s and school’s performance or giving them attendance reports contributes toward improving global education outcomes. Providing 600 million children with quality education will doubtlessly be a challenging task but, as this research indicates, simply providing parents more information about their child’s education could be a meaningful yet simple and low-cost part of the solution.

– Anna Inghram
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

goal 4
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is in charge of the implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the United Nations in 2016 to improve economic, social and political stability around the world through 2030.

The Millennium Goals Program

The goals range from clean water and sanitation, to increasing infrastructure and industrial development in cities. These new sustainable development goals are a legacy built from the UNDP Millenium Goals Program (MDGs) and strive to continue to the success of the older program.

The Millennium Goal program took place from 2000 to 2015 and its key achievements claimed by the UNDP are:

  • More than one billion people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990
  • Child mortality has dropped by more than half since 1990 along with the number of children out of school
  • The total number of HIV/AIDS infections has fallen by nearly 40 percent since 2000

While the UNDP claims that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals strategy is the most successful sustainable development project in history, the organization did state that there were lessons to be learned and more work to be done for future global endeavors. While many of the MDGs were interconnected, similarly to the SDGs, the MDG’s Goal 2 was to achieve universal primary education.

Goal 2 was largely successful. The literacy rate of people ages 15 to 24 was increased from 83 percent to 91 percent from 1990 to 2000 but the gaps between wealthy students and impoverished students and urban students and rural students still remain.

A Focus on Education

Goal 4 of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal strategy aims to combat this disparity by providing quality education. This task has numerous targets that it plans to reach by 2030 (the end of the program), and one that it plans to reach by 2020. The full list can be found on the UNDP’s Goal 4 targets page.

 Many of these targets make sure that not just boys and men receive help in their education process, but that girls and women do as well. For example, targets one and two specifically state boys and girls in regard to education in their wordings. Target one aims to provide better education and preparedness so that both girls and boys are able to complete free primary and secondary education.

Target two aims to provide early education so that children will have a better chance of completing their primary education. The third target aims to ensure the continuing education of men and women, and hopes to ease their access to tertiary education, such as technical schools, vocational schools and college.

Sustainable Development Goal 4

When searching for statistics about the accomplishments of Goal 4 thus far, it is difficult to see the impact. But it is important to remember that this program is a mere two years old.

Worldwide education statistics will still look similar to the end of the MDG program. However, one can see the seedlings that will sprout in the future and benefit individuals and society as a direct result of Goal 4. In fact, this fruition has already begun — India made Goal 4 part of their country’s “Vision 2030,” or the domestic plan for their future.

Strides in Educational Programs and Infrastructure

On September 1, 2016, or National Teachers day, a coalition program was launched by the government of India, private companies and the U.N. in which students will learn about the 17 Goals through cartoons and comics. These cartoons will be produced in six different languages and be shown in school and distributed around the country.

In 2015, Buenos Aires, Argentina founded a multilingual school, and despite common misconception, the school is not a Spanish to English school as many think. The school is actually a cooperation between Buenos Aires and Beijing that offers classes in the native languages of both countries — Spanish and Guarani for Argentina, and Mandarin and Cantonese for China. This initiative fits into both Goal 4 and Goal 17 of global integration.

Global Goals and Steps for Change

These are not the only initiatives related to Goal 4 implemented by countries looking to improve life for their citizens — SDG funding in Columbia is being used to improve rural education; funding in Mozambique is increasing access to professional training; and in Sri Lanka, food quality at schools is being improved.

With the U.N. groundwork, and cooperation and initiative taken by countries on Goal 4, it is easy to see how it will improve education around the world. 

– Nick DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

Illiteracy in Developing Nations
In poorer developing nations, 75 percent of children cannot read a single word of their native language. Illiteracy in developing nations stems from a lack of quality education, which can lead to familial economic instability, gender inequality and child mortality.

The Benefits of Addressing Illiteracy in Developing Nations

Addressing illiteracy in developing nations and increasing access to education can positively influence countries in many ways:

  • Economic Growth: Each year that a child remains in school increases their earning potential by 10 percent and raises their country’s GDP by 0.37 percent.
  • Gender Equality: Girls who attend school are less likely to be married before adulthood or be forced into marriage, fostering broader life choice and increased independence.
  • Child Mortality: It is projected that if all women were able to complete primary school, the under-five mortality rate could fall by 15 percent, preventing the deaths of almost one million children.

Equal Access to Education Can Equalize Opportunity

Pencils of Promise is a nonprofit organization whose focus is addressing illiteracy in the developing nations of Laos, Guatemala and Ghana. It achieves this goal by building schools, supporting local teachers and implementing health and hygiene programs to increase educational outcomes.

The organization started in 2008 with an initial deposit of $25, has since built 471 schools, supported 921 teachers and impacted 90,164 students as of June 2018. Varying educational indicators reveal rapid improvement as children ascend through grade school within the Pencils of Promise facilities.

By fifth and sixth grade, 54 percent of students are proficient in reading comprehension, which is used to assess independent readers. The data also shows amazing teacher commitment, at a rate of 87 percent compared with a global average of 70 percent.

Health is a huge factor in a child’s survival. Annually, clean drinking water could prevent the deaths of 860,000 children. Through Pencils of Promise’s WASH program, 97 percent of students in schools where the program has been implemented report clean drinking water.

The organization maintains close ties with the communities in which it works. Local community members contribute 20 percent of the resources and labor to every school built, and all of its country directors are from the country they are working in.

Pencils of Promise Partners with Companies to Broaden Its Impact

Pencils of Promise uses a for-profit business mentality to form lucrative partnerships with corporations such as Google, Dolce & Gabbana and Vogue. All administrative expenses are covered by corporate donations. All individual donations made online go solely to funding program services.

In the fall of 2017, Pencils of Promise partnered with the sweatshop-free clothing manufacturer American Apparel to create a capsule collection of t-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the eye-catching phrase “Two hundred fifty million kids can’t read this”. The collection represents American Apparel’s commitment of $200,000 to fund the building of three schools in Guatemala, Laos and Ghana.

The mantra of Pencils of Promise is that everyone has promise. Addressing illiteracy in developing nations can provide millions of children with pathways out of poverty. Everyone gains from the progress that knowledge fosters.

Two hundred and fifty million kids can’t read this; where could we be if they could?

– Carolina Sherwood Bigelow
Photo: Flickr

Top Nine Nelson Mandela Quotes About Education

Nelson Mandela was a man who carried varied and numerous titles throughout his life. He was, among other things, a revolutionary, nonviolence anti-apartheid activist, philanthropist, human rights activist, the first black president of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He even went through 27 years in prison for his efforts to bring harmony and equality to South Africa. One of his great legacies was his contributions to education.

Nelson Mandela Quotes about Education

Mandela recognized education as a great vehicle to bring equality of opportunity to the world. Here are nine Nelson Mandela quotes about education:

  • “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  • “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
  • “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”
  • “Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as future leaders.”
  • “Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savour their songs.”
  • “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.”
  • “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
  • “It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.”

The man’s inspiring life story has touched even more people’s lives than his quotes about education. The many funds and foundations he established during his lifetime continue to help and advocate for the causes he cared about; such causes include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, The Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

Institute for Education and Rural Development

As for the education sector, in particular, The Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development provides education for rural children in South Africa that encounter educational barriers such as collapsing classrooms, leaking roofs, shortages of desks and shortages of teachers.

The institute creates tools and methods to develop teacher training systems, works with the community, refurbishes classrooms and helps students develop their language skills as well as their confidence.

The Gift of Education

The gift of education is indeed something to be celebrated. To work towards Mandela’s honorable vision of a free and equal society, the world will require the knowledge, resources and insight that education brings. The Nelson Mandela quotes about education featured above express why education is so important.

Education is an investment essential to empowering individuals to reach their full potential and to make their own positive impact on the world.

– Connie Loo

Photo: Flickr

How Foreign Aid Has Advanced Education in IndiaIndia, located in South Asia, has a population of 1.2 billion people and is on its way to becoming the world’s most populous nation by 2030. However, the country still struggles with providing its growing population with access to quality healthcare, potable water, education and clean energy. The education sector in India, in particular, requires special attention, since so much of the nation’s personal and national development is based upon it.

India, being a developing nation, has struggled in this area for a very long time. For instance, even in the late 1980s, between 30 and 40 million children of primary school age were out of school. Foreign aid to India, as a result, proves to be an effective investment in this arena, and there are many ways foreign aid has advanced education in India.

One of the ways foreign aid has advanced education in India is by initiating projects that focus on improving the sector from its core. For instance, one of the three major goals of USAID’s Global Education Strategy is “improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades.” Focus on the children in primary grades is essential, as so much of a country’s future depends on it. For instance, according to the World Bank, “an increase of one standard deviation in student reading and math scores is associated with an increase of two percentage points in annual gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth.”

In order to advance this target, USAID supports 10 initiatives in the country and partners with the government of India to “identify, support and scale early grade reading innovations developed in India.” Additionally, USAID focuses on improving the capacity of educators to improve pedagogy and teaching.

For instance, the Teacher Innovation in Practice program works to positively impact the teaching practices of 14,657 teachers to improve early grade reading outcomes of more than 564,000 primary school children in the states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in India. By developing teachers’ mindsets, building an enabling environment and improving pedagogical skills and knowledge, the main goal of this program is to reignite teacher motivation to drive better student learning outcomes.

Other initiatives focus on improving the literacy rate in the country, which was as low as 19.3 percent shortly after independence in 1951. USAID, in partnership with Tata Trusts and the Center for microFinance, is leading an initiative called the Nurturing Early Literacy Project that aims to “shift the prevalent rote-based pedagogy in India to one that views the child as an active learner.”

The project incorporates different approaches, including in-class sessions for teachers and equitable access to libraries for children, both in schools and communities. The aim of this project is to improve the reading skills of more than 90,000 primary school children in the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

India reportedly spends a mere 3 percent of its GDP on education, making foreign aid geared towards development in the educational sector crucial. Foreign aid has advanced education in India significantly over the years. For instance, the literacy rate increased to 65.4 percent in 2001, and currently sits at 74.04 percent.

Hopefully, with continued support from foreign investments, India will be able to develop its education sector, thereby potentially boosting its economy and reducing poverty.

– Mehruba Chowdhury

Photo: Flickr

development projects in zimbabwe
Droughts, land reform and a decrease in production have plagued Zimbabwe since the turn of the century in 2000. But despite these economic challenges, there are five development projects in Zimbabwe that hope to alleviate some of the current struggles that common residents of the country face.

Zimbabwe Rural School Development Programme

Beginning in 2001, the charity Zimbabwe Rural School Development Programme (ZRSDP) was created as a means to counteract the lack of education that affects many children in the country. In 2016, the most recent accomplishment of the ZRSDP included the Peace and Good Hope Primary School in Bulawayo.

This school had grown to a student population of 200 since its foundation in 2002; however, it functioned with six desks, five benches and four toilets that served for not only the students but also two teachers. Devoting over 40,000 GBP ZRSDP helped create proper classrooms, toilets and teacher accommodations at Peace and Good Hope Primary School. Due to this increase in facilities, the school now holds 240 students and a full teaching staff.

Youth and Women Empowerment Project

The African Development Fund plans to create targeted employment opportunities and increase the value of sales in horticulture products for targeted youth and women. Running from 2017 to 2019, this project will cost UA 3.79 million. Through this project, the Fund aims to address fragility risk that threatens Zimbabwe’s development, which includes gender inequality, regional development imbalances, poor governance and technician skills shortages. Development projects in Zimbabwe via these efforts will really lay the foundation for future gain.

Integrated Urban Water Management

The government of Zimbabwe expressed interest in the African Water Facility’s program, “Cities of the Future,” in November of 2013. The project will handle the important water and sanitation infrastructure needs, and “the Municipality of Marondera with a population of 65,000 inhabitants was selected by the Government of Zimbabwe to receive support to develop an integrated water and wastewater Master Plan that will in part present detailed prioritized investments.”

Transport Sector Plan

A plan for sustainable development of the transport infrastructure could get implemented into development through this proposed study, “The target area is the entire population of Zimbabwe and transit transport that will benefit from reduced cost of movement of goods, persons and services as a result of improved transport infrastructure in the country upon implementation of the recommendations of the Transport Sector Master Plan.”

Lake Harvest Aquaculture Expansion

Lake Harvest Aquaculture is the largest integrated tilapia fish farm in sub-Saharan Africa. Expansion of the farm would offer more job opportunities, improved food security through low-cost protein access and increase government revenue.

Change is slowly but surely coming to Zimbabwe through each of these endeavors. These development projects in Zimbabwe are just the beginning of empowerment to the people, but in time they will serve as the catalyst for larger, more sustained change.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Education in NingxiaNingxia, known as Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is located in the northwest of China. This region of about 6.7 million people is surrounded by Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Gansu. People of the Hui ethnicity make up more than one-third of the population in Ningxia. The steady and continuous progress of education in Ningxia has taken place since it was founded in 1958.

Until now, the nine-year system of compulsory education in Ningxia has established an enrollment rate of more than 98 percent. There are nine universities and ten professional colleges. Standards of higher education and vocational education for adults are high.

Last year, education in Ningxia reached a number of milestones. A total of 69 kindergartens were newly set up or restructured, the heating facilities of 1,086 schools were renovated and rural schools ended the use of stove heating. Nine vocational training centers were built. A total of 313,000 people received financial aid from the Student Financial Assistance Project and 280,000 students were benefited by the Nutrition Improvement Program.

Compared to the last century, great changes have taken place for education in Ningxia. However, regarding the overall quality of education in this region, there remain significant disparities compared to the well-developed southeastern provinces of China.

Firstly, there is an observable gap between education in urban and rural areas. By the end of 2016, there were still 43.7 percent of people living in rural areas of Ningxia. About 380,000 rural people live below the poverty line. Take the Chencha Primary School as an example. It is the most remote school in the countryside, about 250 miles away from Yinchuan. Due to the inconvenience of lacking transportation services, each of the 48 students across five grades has no option but to walk a long distance to school.

The second problem is the ethnic disparities in education. In October 2014, an investigation on ethnic disparities concluded that the Hui children have a shorter period of education than the ethnic majority and that this had been occurring for generations. Sample statistics showed that while urban males in Hui and Han ethnicities had an average of 11 years’ education, in rural Ningxia, male Hui had 1.4 fewer years of education on average than rural male Han. However, many senior women of rural Hui only had a couple of years’ education and their illiteracy rates in poor, remote areas were high.

Gender inequality in education accompanies this ethnicity problem. It was reported that in rural Ningxia, Hui females had two fewer years of education on average than those of Hui males. Meanwhile, in some Hui families with multiple children, it is likely for parents to put the education of younger boys above that of girls and older boys. Due to the relatively low attendance rate of Hui girls, education in that region was lower, which restricts the overall development of education.

A recent investigation on the lifestyle transformation of Hui Muslim women in Ningxia found that higher education is correlated with avoiding early marriage. Meanwhile, some rural Hui families regard education as unnecessary for women. While the enrollment of primary schools had reached 99 percent in Ningxia, quite a few rural girls terminated their education in grade three or four.

In the Chinese government’s thirteenth five-year plan, the local government in Ningxia will be part of a plan to improve the overall education level of China by 2020. A total of 15,000 new kindergartens are expected to be constructed in poor villages across this region.

These policies will address poverty-related issues and provide aid to minority students and poor families attain education in Ningxia. Global giving with online donations is another measure to support scholarships for girls in rural families of Ningxia.

Better education in Ningxia demands reliable support from all individuals and broader society now and in the future.

– Xin Gao

access to education in ugandaIn the country of Uganda, education is of high concern. Given that there are over 100 students in some classes, the quality of education is severely lacking. In an attempt to focus on quality and learning retention, Uganda has done away with primary entry level examinations. As opposed to the examinations, the focus will now be aimed at ensuring that the quality of teaching is up to par. Any school found violating the ban will face strict repercussions.

The country’s Ministry of Education found that the quality of education on a primary level was lacking. With the country’s overall literacy rate at 70.2 percent, the ban is the result of a desire to shift focus away from exam results and improve teachers’ instruction skills. This step provides a ray of hope for access to education in Uganda.

Because teachers are so crucial in the quality of education, the first focus for access to education in Uganda is teaching capabilities. The Ministry of Education has embarked on massive training program of teachers at all levels, called the Teacher Training Education Project. The project aims not only to train the teachers, but also to make sure that they have the necessary equipment for teaching, and that they are able to be supportive to their colleagues, according to a report on the project by the Ministry of Education.

The ban on entry exams is good news, but there are still other factors that Ugandans must overcome in order to attend school, such as finances. Tuition at the primary level is free; however, families tend to struggle with paying for school-related expenses such as books. Tuition to secondary-level schooling is free only if a student does well on his or her Primary Leaving Exams.

The dissolution of the entry exams is a step in the right direction regarding access to education in Uganda, but there are still many more steps to take in the future. If the country wants to ensure that quality of education endures, further measures, such as continuous teacher training and free schooling and supplies, must be taken.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

In an attempt to increase quality education in Kenya, 90,000 teachers are set to be trained. Instructors are required to participate in a government-sponsored program that will boost learning in primary schools, according to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Over the years, more and more students have had increased access to education in Kenya. As a result, the adult literacy rate is almost 80 percent whereas the regional average is 61 percent. There are still some hurdles to cross, however, as many students who attend school do not have basic reading skills upon completion. A large amount of data indicates that teacher quality contributes significantly to the learning of students, according to a report by the World Bank. It is for this reason that having trained teachers is just as important as access to education.

Around 30 percent of teachers in Kenya are untrained. The number continues to rise as the number of students attending schools increases. Fortunately, efforts are being made to ensure that teachers are well-qualified to suit the needs of their students. USAID has partnered with Kenya’s Ministry of Education (MOE) to improve education in the country. USAID and MOE are working to enhance the capabilities of the teachers and improve the reading skills of the students.

GPE and the World Bank are allocating funds to Kenya so that they are better able to train teachers and provide students with school supplies. The two organizations are granting roughly $85.5 million for the training of 90,000 teachers and $9.7 million of the grant is to be used for the distribution of math books to students. The distribution of math books helps to make school more engaging for the students. The books are colorful and attractive in nature, making them appealing to young students.

Anne Irungu, a teacher in Kenya, marvels at how much just having a textbook has changed her classroom, “…sometimes one book was shared between two or more pupils. Since they could not all move at the same pace, you would find them fighting over the book, and the books would get worn out,” she said. “Now that each pupil has his or her own book, they sit comfortably, they work comfortably, and there is no conflict.”

Having well-trained teachers is beneficial to everyone. Teachers would have access to more earnings because of their training and children would receive a quality education which would, in turn, increase their own earnings later in life and reduce economic inequality.

These factors have the potential to reduce poverty in Kenya. With grants and training, the necessary improvements for education in Kenya can be made which may potentially lead to long-lasting changes for the future.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

Education in Hong Kong: Problems and Solutions

Similar to the British system, education in Hong Kong consists of a 9-year compulsory education for students aged six to 15. Before enrolling in university, most students complete 12 years of study at public or government-aided schools, which are generally free to attend. However, there also exists a private international school system that is in high demand in Hong Kong: the schools are highly competitive to enroll in and boast very high tuition and schooling fees.

The education system in Hong Kong ranks high, though there are a few evident problems. Experts claim that quite a few schools overly stress “reciting” material, which requires students to memorize information verbatim. Further, the “spoon-fed” teaching style does not allow for lively student debates or the promotion of critical thinking. There is a worry that the mechanical reciting and negative acceptance of learning materials will restrain potential creativity and imagination among students. Other major problems of the current education system include low enrolment rates in local universities as well as social and psychological problems among students due to high stress.

There are advantages of getting an education in Hong Kong: one is that the use of English is more popularized in Hong Kong, as compared to mainland China. However, with respect to the education itself, there is no major difference between schools in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The system of education in Hong Kong makes it quite difficult for local students in Hong Kong to connect with Chinese culture and mainland China. In addition, many teachers in Hong Kong are greatly influenced by Western education; thus, they are more likely to recognize the issues of freedom, democracy and human rights as opposed to strengthening their identities with the mainland region. At the moment, both primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong are encouraged by the central government of China to set up curriculums that include Chinese teaching and bilingual learning.

There have been 3,714 cultural exchange programs with nearly 60,000 participants from mainland China to Hong Kong and Macao from 2006 to 2010. Both the scale and quality of cultural exchange has grown in the past decade. The exchange programs that have been included in the education in Hong Kong encourage closing the culture gap between students of these regions.

As mentioned earlier, pressures of higher education in Hong Kong have led to increased stress among students. This is fuelled by a prevailing ideology among the Hong Kong society that nothing is achieved without attending university. More than 80,000 high school graduates compete for one of the 15,000 government-subsidized first-year university spots each year.

Greater efforts must be made to address the stress faced by students within the system of education in Hong Kong. At the moment, the Hong Kong Children and Youth Services helps those who have a tendency of violence. Its staff provides services in addition to speaking gently, listening to the youth and helping them process their thoughts with patience and empathy. The Hong Kong Youth and Children Education Center opened in 2013, offering self-sponsored services and free testing for kids of families in need. It facilitates would be capable of helping them recollect self-esteem, increase resilience and coping skills.

Education in Hong Kong is moving towards an advanced global education system while also placing efforts on fusing the cultures between mainland China and itself. Reasonable solutions and measures depend not only on efforts by the government, schools and society, but also relies on the interactions between teachers, students and their families.

– Xin Gao

Photo: Flickr