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Chris | 9th Jul 2007, 2:14 PM | 母校情 | (2239 Reads)

I just spent yesterday (July 1st) with the two Wah Yan Ambassadors who are visiting San Francisco, and seven other Wah Yan alumni at Berkeley and De Anza Community College. They told me:

1) It is rarely the case you will find teachers' cars in the parking lot
after 5 p.m. on most school days in both Wah Yan's. Many teachers
immediately leave right after school is over. Unlike in our time when
teachers stayed behind to advise, coach student activities (scout, art,
film, Math Olympiad, calligraphy, staging operas, class and school plays),
mentoring remedial students, these rarely take place. There is also no
more teachers who would volunteer to teach after retirement, as did Chiu
Hei-kaw, Wong Chin-wah, Yu Pun-leung, Francis Kong. One student remarked that when Francis Kong was buried last Christmas, an entire chapter of Wah Yan good teaching for the past 80 years came to an end.

 



2) There is corroborating evidence from different sources. I asked both
principals about the feasibility of past students financing programs for
Wah Yan teachers to take summer sessions in North America schools or Jesuit colleges. Both said that teachers guard their summer vacations very jealously. There is at least one extreme case. Some parents in WYHK complained to the Education Bureau in HK that an English teacher never graded a single English home work in an entire term. One student told me that the joke among students in WYK was that the best job is to teach in WYK -- teachers do not have to do anything.

3) Good teachers leave. There are at least three of the best teachers who ave left or considering leaving because of parents, students, and
colleagues. One excellent and conscientious English teacher contacted
students at home about their home work. The parent complained to the
school in public that this married woman teacher was seducing her son. So she left. Another good woman teacher was considering to resign because she has buck teeth and the students made that her nickname. A third Chinese teacher, probably the most conscientious of them all and the only one who stays for hours after school is over, is also thinking of leaving because he gets stuck with different chores that other teachers shirk.

All these are unthinkable at the time when Jesuit priests were the
principals who set personal examples of dedication, concern for students, create an environment of education excellence, motivate good teachers and cultivate a collegiate subculture among teaching staff and school pride for all.

4) The student profile is that of a mediocre school, and dropping towards the bottom. Last year, WYK had only 87 "A"s in the HKSCE, compared to over 400 in La Salle, and over 500 in DGS. There were 220 "F" or "U"s. "U" stands for "Unclassified", worse than "Failure". The exam is so bad it is simply not graded.

5) The students told me they were very surprised when they attended
classes at De Anza Community College and Berkeley, when they saw that students generally do not eat and drink during classes, play e-games, talk among themselves when the instructor is lecturing. This is rather typical in WYK, less so, but still the case in WYHK.

6) Foul language is the lingua Franca for many students, even in elite
company. A group of Wah Yan past students attended a Wah Yan alumni gathering in the Bay Area, where Doris Cheung, Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (one of three HK government representatives in US) was invited. Part of the gathering was a bowling game. They were on the lane beside Doris. During the entire game, they used expletives in a loud voice.

7) Much of the student behavior is attributable to their working class
background. One student said the mean family income of WYK students was HK$10,000 per month (I think a Filipino maid makes HK$7,000). Norman So said that 60 of the parents of F. 1 and F. 2 two or three years ago were cab drivers. WYHK is better, with HK$70,000 mean monthly income.

8) Many parents clearly behave like the very uneducated. They fight over getting tables in the school canteen during lunch time. They complained about and successfully killed a compulsory course for WYK students learning how to input Chinese characters in computers. As noted earlier, one managed to drive an excellent English teacher away.

The above profile of students, teachers, administrators and parents appears to be a bottom school in our time, more like New Method rather than Wah Yan. The prospects do not look good. I believe this is part of the intended consequence of the "Slay the Dragon" policy of the education bureaucrats in Hong Kong. But even with the slayers being slain recently, the downward spiral of Wah Yan has gathered momentum. The reputation of Wah Yan gets worse. Good students do not come. Wah Yan alumni are sending their children elsewhere or pulling them from Wah Yan. Conscientious teachers leave. DSS (or privatization) would at least solve the student pool problem, thus the parents problem. It can also solve the teacher problem, by getting rid of bad instructors now protected by governmentregulations.

I understand that Fr. Deignan and two alumni just met Sr. Margaret Wong of St. Paul Convent, which has recently switched to DSS. Before the meeting, I was told that the experience of St. Paul Convent was overall positive, with DSS benefits outweighing the costs.

(I welcome corrections and comments.)

James Tong (WYK 1965)
Department of Political Science
UCLA


[1]

As an old boy from WYCHK, I am very shocked when I read this. Yes, DSS is an option, but isn't that violating the Jesuit spirit? I am not sure about this as a solution.

Can PSA to call for alumni support by giving speech or mentoring students? Students from low income families today do not have the vision nor exposure which make students have different behavior. They need to know how they can leverage their existing opportunities in Wah Yan to capitalize the better future and how good that can be.


[引用] | 作者 Dunstan | 23rd Jul 2007 12:08 PM | [舉報垃圾留言]

[2] Re:
Dunstan :
As an old boy from WYCHK, I am very shocked when I read this. Yes, DSS is an option, but isn't that violating the Jesuit spirit? I am not sure about this as a solution.
Can PSA to call for alumni support by giving speech or mentoring students? Students from low income families today do not have the vision nor exposure which make students have different behavior. They need to know how they can leverage their existing opportunities in Wah Yan to capitalize the better future and how good that can be.

多謝意見,希望在香港的校友有所行動。


[引用] | 作者 chris | 23rd Jul 2007 1:42 PM | [舉報垃圾留言]