This is a bold and praiseworthy initiative on the part of the Ministry of Education as criteria for admission to HSC classes as from 2020. The Ministry of Education should go ahead with it because it forms the basic qualifications as exigent for a job in the Civil Service. All job seekers in the Civil Service should possess 5 credits (English, French, Maths and two other subjects) as basic requirements to be eligible for a job in the government service. So the decision should be maintained, no question of back-pedaling to please the Opposition who is trying to get some political mileage out of it.
It is sheer stupid and illogical to allow students to move to HSC classes with two or three credits and then insist on 5 credits to get a job on the labour market, especially in the Civil Service. Where is the logic behind such a move? There will be disappointment and frustration among the applicants when they will be told they are not eligible for the post because they do not have 5 credits at one and same sitting for School Certificate. In this case why have they been allowed to move into HSC classes with two or three credits at SC?
Right from the beginning they should be barred from HSC classes and faced with the exigencies that only those with 5 credits including English, French and Maths will be eligible for a seat in HSC because it forms the basic requirements for a job in the Civil Service. Holders of two or three credits cannot outclass those with 5 credits. Priority will be given to these categories of SC holders if we want to give the devil its due and give due respect to meritocracy.
In this respect the students should be placed in front of the bald fact and not afterwards when they come to the labour market. We must not fool them with two or three credits for HSC classes and then disappoint them afterwards when they come to the labour market for a job. They should be told bluntly that 5 credits at SC are the essential prerequisite for employment in the Civil Service in spite of their HSC and tertiary qualifications.
It is a fact that nowadays we are churning out quantity at the expense of quality education. Our students have other fish to fry than their studies. The quality wise has become a rare commodity. Our students do not beaver away at their studies. Just to cite an example― nowadays how many students read along with a dictionary as a «vade mecum» to build up their vocabulary for expression and comprehension?
Very few! Reading has become the bête noire of the school population. With such a sketchy vocabulary, their power of words is extremely low. This is the underlying reason why each year more than fifty percent of SC candidates fail to score a credit in English language. The most they can do is to snatch a mere pass out of the jaws of failure. The only student in Lower Six at SSS Bambous said if he had not been beavering away at his studies, he, too, would have been «dans le camp des repeaters.» Why others had not done like he?
It is clear that when the students do not perform, the results will be definitely poor. Why should the ministry of Education help these lazy-bones by lowering the standard of education? Today when we compare the SC/HSC holders with their counterparts in the fifties, sixties or seventies, we are comparing heaven to earth. Formerly the standard was higher and tougher. And those who succeeded in their studies were somebodies when today we compare them with our students who are only certificate hunters without academic bullets.
Today what is the intellectual stuff of a HSC holder par rapport to his counterpart four or five decades ago? There are many HSC holders only on paper. When they are put through their paces, you will be stunned to see the many weaknesses on their part. Their expressions in English and French, be it writing or in speech, are lamentably poor. They have studied the strict minimum just to get through the examinations. So it is clear that we are churning out only quantity while the quality label leaves a lot to be desired.
There is no denying the fact that when the standard is lowered, there is a slackening on the part of the learners since they know that with less efforts, they can achieve their objectives. But when the standard is raised, more efforts have to be put in if they want to succeed and the results will improve along with the quality.
So it is high time that we review the quality label of our education. And it is not by lowering the criteria for HSC classes that we shall give a boost to the quality label.