Those of you that regularly read the SCMP letters to the editor, will be aware of the frequent jingoistic letters from one Pierce Lam, ranting ad nauseum about the short-comings of the West and the bright shining light that is everything Hong Kong Chinese.
In his latest steaming pile, he writes:
So, is this guy really this stupid, or is he so totally blinded by his patriotism that he completely overlooks the elephant in the room that is the systemic problems of the local educational style?In defence of local school system
I read your report ("Plea to improve public schools", February 14) with misgivings, appalled by the city's self-styled democrats' servile submission to expatriates' blatant chauvinism in the education debate.
Indisputably, international schools are gaining popularity among local parents. But popularity often reflects superficiality and measures neither quality nor depth. International schools are less demanding than local schools, with simpler syllabuses and easier examination grading standards. They seldom participate in inter-school sports competitions and music festivals where local schools dominate. Local schools' high average standard is evidenced by the very top positions which local students consistently achieve in various international scholastic surveys.
Against rampant disparagements against local schools, which in effect are veiled criticisms of local teachers' incompetence, Cheung Man-kwong, a local teacher who represents the teaching profession in the legislature, has neither defended the local system nor proposed ways to improve it. He has been a staunch proponent of segregation. His demand to restrict local enrolment in international schools serves to grab political capital by appeasing both foreigners who abhor local competition for international education and those local teachers who fear job security if local students opt for international schools.
What if, contrary to objective measures, international schools were somehow "superior" to local schools? Shouldn't local students have equal access to the "better" education of international schools which have benefited from land grants, the city's most precious resource?
Kashimura Fujio of Hong Kong Japanese School observes that, unlike Hong Kong's expatriates, many expatriates in Tokyo send their children to local schools. Why? Japanese schools can't be more "international" than Hong Kong's local schools in teaching medium and curricula. However, as the Japanese respect their local schools, expatriates in Japan properly learn to respect the education standard of the country which offers them employment opportunities.
The local education system is not impeccable. But we may never improve our schools if our political leaders lack the moral courage to overcome the inferiority complex of their colonial mentality.
It's time we recognised local students' achievements and publicised local education's high standard.
We must outgrow the colonial practice of double standards in education and cease subsidising international schools, which skirt the local curricula and fail to prepare students for local exams. Fruitful diversity with a fair standard for equal application to all stakeholders should be distinguished from discriminatory segregation based on privileges and prejudice.