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  Profile of Form Three Students of the Year of the Tiger
By Rev. Harold Naylor, S.J.

The Survey

There are 214 students in the five Form Three classes. Some four were absent for the questionnaire in the first week of Janaury, and a few did not answer all the 68 questions. However, about 207 answered, though some did not answer all the questions. It could be said that more than 200 answered all the questions asked.

When were they born: 68% of the students answered in the year of the Tiger (1986), and 14% were born on the Chinese Mainland. There was a high figure of 54 (or 27% who are the only child in the family-that is 73% have a brother or sister.)

Catholic Life

11% of the mothers are Catholic, and it is the Mother who usually is most importance in the development of young people's faith life. As for Church going, 16% said they go to Church often, and this includes the other Christian Churches. Finally, which is most important, 65% state they were at a Catholic Primary School. In terms of the past years, it seems more of our students are coming from Catholic Primary schools, but fewer of them are Catholic!

Asking if there were religious objects in the home, 61% said they had, which shows the strength of traditional ways. 30% of the students answer that they have religious faith, which would include other Christians and forms of traditional Chinese beliefs. This also indicates that the majority of our students have little or no commitment to a life of faith. This seems to be increasing in terms of the last decade.

Parental Background

Asked where their parents were born, 69% said their mothers were born in Hong Kong and the same number of Fathers, but this does not necessarily mean that both Mother and Father were born in Hong Kong. This shows an increase of parents were born on the Mainland. It is still significant and one third of the parents were born and probably grew up in China.

Their educational background is also interesting. 30% of the Fathers are tertiary educated, while the number of Mothers is lower at 15%. This is in keeping with the past. I did not ask how many finished secondary education, as in the past few years as many as 60% of the mothers were secondary educated, and the same number of Fathers.

Language Skills was then of interest to me as a language teacher!

The students stated that 38% of their Father speak good English, while a lower percentage (23%) of the Mothers speak good English. The students themselves who claimed they spoke good English was 39%, showing that some speak better than their parents, which makes them better than their parents in speaking English. That seems to have been so in the past. As for Putonghua, the students answered: 56% of their Father spoke it well, and 33% of their Mothers.

Students' Homes

69% of the families own their home, and 52% of the students had their own room for study. The area of homes reveal that most live in 600 and 900 square feet respectively. The break down was: 6% in 250sqft, 19% in 350sqft, 35% in 600sqft, 28% in 900sqft, and 15% in more than 1,200sqft. This indicates that housing is constantly improving as the years go by, and that a considerable number live in upper middle class families. This can be compared to what students guess their total family income.

Again, I am surprised by the number (42%) who state their total family income is $20,000 a month. This tallies with what I have heard from school authorities that half of our students qualify for reduced fees. 23% have a family income of $35,000 , 18% of $50,000 10% of 75,000 and 9% of more than $100,000. 10% of the students come to school by private car, which is slightly higher than in the past.

How long have they lived in their present homes?

Ten years 36%, Seven years 17%, Four years 21%, Two years 11%, about A YEAR 13%. This shows how mobile a society Hong Kong is. Those moving are usually of the upper incomes. It also shows how difficult it is to develop a community spirit in Hong Kong.

I tried to estimate the money that the students spend. This is hard to find out, as those who live near need to spend little on travel, and some even go home for lunch. Some students spend over $150 a week on travel, and having lunch and soft drinks would consume as much $200 a week. The calculations of the questionnaire give that 7% spend $50 a week, 41% spend $150 a week, 35% spend 250 a week, and 11% spend $350 a week. I wonder how much they receive in Lai See packets at the Chinese New Year, but that is a secret!

Finally, as to where they live, we could say half live nearby, as 19% come to school on foot, and 65% came to school in less than thirty minutes. But in what areas to they live?

Yau Tsim Mong 26%, Sham shui po 5%, Mei Foo 10%, Tsuen Wan 7%, Ching Yi 10%, Hung Hom 11%,Kowloon North 6%, Kowlon East 9% Shatin 15%, Tseung Kwon O 8%,NTEast 8%, Hong Kong 8% and 6% in other areas. Since I visit the homes of the students, I can say I have been to these places in the past months.

45% come to school using the MTR, which is slightly lower than previous years.

Fathers' Occupation

It has been a puzzle for me to classfy the work of their Fathers, so I asked different questions this time. Fathers who are Professional give 34%, which is a bit higher than previous years. 60% of the Fathers are in various forms of management, which could be as a worker, business man, or even in government or academia. 24% are skilled workers and 35% are workers. 16% are in service or transportation, which means taxi drivers and bus or truck drivers. 8% are working in government. 75% of the Fathers like the work they are doing, which is a high percentage.

Mothers' Occupation

This year I only asked if they were housewives and I got the figure of 52% which is slightly higher than previous years, and 54% like being a housewife! This reflects the number of people who are unemployed, as in previous years only 48% of the mothers were housewives. On the other hand, there is nothing like having the mother at home for the emotional development and maturity of students. For mothers who are working, there is need to employ a domestic helper, which is so in 23% of the homes. Only 13% have their grandmother living with them. The students who have grandmothers with them, I consider the well behaved and good students, who always have someone to be with them and love them.

Family Life style

I was much taken aback to learn that 18% of the students had lived abroad for more than two years. This reveals something new in the school. They are the children of returnees, that is people who emigrated but returned after 1994. These students naturally have much better skills in English.

Travel is common in Hong Kong so I was not surprised to find that 57% have travelled outside of Hong Kong in the last two years, but this figure also includes the Chinese Mainland.

Students Life Patterns

Study! Asked how long they study in hours a week, they answered

Ten hours 55% Twenty hours 36% Thirty hours 9%, Forty hours 8%

Studying with computers reveal in hours a week

One hour 38%, Three hours 39%, Seven hours 14% and Fifteen or more 6%

Now compared with hours a week playing on the computer, which is pernicious!

Five hours 30% Ten hours 33% Twenty hours 15% Thirty hours 6%- One wonders do they have time for anything else?

On Sports: One hour 18% Three hours 30% Five hours 36% Ten hours 16%

On Music : Five hours 56% Ten hours 22% Fifteen hours 10% Twenty hours 8%

On reading comics: One hour 65% Three hours 23%, Six and more hours 13%

On reading: Five hours 57%, Ten hours7%, Fifteen hours 20%Twenty hours 7%

Home work: takes Five hours 42%, Ten hours 42%m Fifteen hours 13%, Twenty 5%

Watching TV: Seven hours 28%, Fifteen hours 45% Twenty Five and more 27%

Playing: Five hours 6%, Ten hours 21%, Fifteen hours 23%, Twenty hours 23%, Twenty Five hours 18%

This does not really add up as different students spend more time on one and less on other activities. However, it does show why parents complain that their students have not enough homework to do. Look at the pattern of their use of time! I think time spent on play and sports is very important. I would like to see less time spent on computers and television. The trouble with these figures is that it is an average of the whole Form. Each student should have a balance of study and play, free activity and homework. Not only the future of the student depends on this balance, but also his healthy.

The good news I found out is that 88% of the students said that their parents give them freedom. That is wonderful, but I feel they have too much freedom! And I would like to see more control of their activities, even in school!

School Life

Do the student like most of their teachers? 80% state affirmatively

Did they choose to enter Wah Yan College, Kowloon? 86% responded affirmatively

Did they sit for the entrance examination in our school? 45% answered affirmatively, which really puzzles me as I know the discretionary places we have are few. My only conclusion is that they were lucky to have been allocated here as only a few dozens were chosen by the school.

Students' Future

I was surprised to find out that 46% would like to study abroad, which is a higher figure than the past years. But then 28% of the parents would like to live abroad which is also a higher figure than before. Finally, I was surprised to see that 79% of the students would like to live outside Hong Kong, which does not augur well for the significant contribution they will make to Hong Kong Society. I did not ask the usual questions of what they saw as their future occupation because in the past the results were unsatisfactory. Computer Science, Economics and Business are surely the priorities of many, while Medicine, Social Work and Education are low priorities. And I do not dare to ask how many dreamed of being a priest, or dedicating themselves to Church work! 28% would choose a life in the outdoors.

Other Items

I am very interested in the role of the Father in their lives. Previously I asked how much time the Father spent with them and got a figure of about 25 hours a week. This time I asked how many Fathers spent more than THREE Days a week with them, and the figure was 79%. This shows that many Fathers are working on the Mainland, or are separated from the family, or are deceased.

More rewarding was the figure of 69% of the Father who had a warm regards for their son. This indicates the source of the students success and good behaviour! Disappointing for me was the figure of 11% who keep a dog or car. This I consider a deprivation. Living with animals is important for children. I always had my dog from the age of five until I became a Jesuit. I would be less warm hearted if I never had a dog!

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the students of Form Three for answering my 68 questions, which was done in one period in the first week of January. Then the students of 3K collated the answers, which was a work I am much indebted to them for.

Of the five classes, I could say that WYKJ were very similar in the patterns of their responses, but 3S was significantly different in every aspect and seem to have a very different background and come from a different constituency.

I am really conscious of the parents of our students. They give a very good family education and motivate to their sons. I trust that in years to come that the sacrifices they have made for them will be rewarded by the satisfaction they feel and the joy they have in seeing them settled in family life and in good occupations. God bless them all.


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