TRIBES OF HONG KONG
Exploring the city’s subcultures探索香港各類有趣文化 From left: Michelle Sun, David Chiu, Christine Ma-Lau
It’s back-to-school time: meet the city’s star tutors
Meet the educators 左起：辛婥琳、趙永康及劉馬露明
IT’S SEPTEMBER, WHICH means we’re entering a new school year in Hong Kong – a place known for cutthroat competition for school places. Here, tutorial centres promote their star teachers as celebrities, putting their faces in advertisements plastered on billboards and buses. One of those celebrities is David Chiu. He founded iCon Education tutorial centre, which specialises in helping students enter university.
‘In the past, parents preferred good teachers in tutorial centres. That’s no longer the case; now they want famous tutorial centres,’ he says. While Chiu admits some star tutors are only in it for fame and money, he says he’s dedicated to helping young people. ‘I opened the school so I could use my own teaching methods and choose the tutors to work with. When I see our students’ personal growth, I am proud. Their success is our success.’
The ecosystem of education-related services here is vast, extending far beyond just schoolwork. Extracurricular activities are important as ever. First Code Academy, for instance, is among the few education centres that offer coding courses for kids in Hong Kong. Its founder Michelle Sun, who has worked in Silicon Valley, says, ‘I believe that technology and coding are a kind of lingua franca of the younger generation. It helps prepare Asian children for the future competition on a global scale, a point more parents have started to notice’.
Another parent favourite is JEMS Learning House, which teaches an unusual subject: moral education. Founder and principal Christine Ma-Lau says a sense of responsibility, compassion and perseverance are essential, and primary schools have started to include these non-academic topics in their curricula. ‘I hope that alternative education like this can flourish in Hong Kong, and that other educators will work together to make it happen,’ she says. ‘In the end, we all share one mission: to nurture our next generation.’
同樣重要，其中First Code Academy就是香港少數教導兒童程式編寫的教育中心。曾於矽谷工作的創辦人辛婥琳認為：「我相信科技及程式編寫已是年輕世代的一種世界共通語言，更有助提高亞洲孩童日後在國際面對競爭，愈來愈多家長亦開始明白這個重要性。」
JEMS Learning House是另一家獲家長垂青的學校，它是一所為小童進行品德教育的中心。對創辦人及校長劉馬露明而言，責任感、同情心及毅力是人應有的品德，而香港的學校亦開始在課堂加入這些非學術的教育。她表示：「我希望我們這些另類教育能於香港發揚光大，並有更多同行齊心合力。其實我們教育工作者都只有一個目標，就是好好培育下一代。」