Long hours, too much homework and stressed pupils – is there a solution to Hong Kong’s education system nightmare?

Thousands of pupils are under tremendous pressure as they study under a competitive education system – but how can the issue be fixed?

Young Javis Leung King-chung relates his nightmare.

“I was in school and my teacher said my class was too naughty, so although we started lessons at 7am, we had to stay on to work until 7pm,” the eight-year-old said.

“With our shocked looks and disgruntled sounds, the teacher then said we had to stay for 15 more hours. The more startled we became, the more the teacher kept increasing the hours. In the end, we had to stay for three days. I was so scared.”

Javis is not alone. Thousands of Hong Kong pupils are under tremendous pressure as they study under a competitive education system, face long school hours and deal with huge amounts of homework.

A survey of around 1,300 primary pupils by Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service last year found that 21.7 per cent complained of constant stress, with the most common sources of pressure being too much homework, preparing for secondary school and unsatisfactory academic performance…