CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Let education nourish life

As the new school year commences, we would like to wish all students a happy new school year.
 
Learning can be delightful. However, studies conducted by a research team at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that life satisfaction of secondary students declined year on year, their confidence in handling studies declined over the years and they generally regard learning life skills as important, but inadequately covered by the school curriculum. Similarly, parents also worried about their children’s studies and feel a lot of pressure.
 
Every year, the Hong Kong government commits substantial resources into education. So why are students and even parents unhappy? 
 
Although the government’s Announcement of Public Interest advocates that “learning is not about scores,” the assessment system, public exams and the education system still emphasise appraisal and assessment. How can students, parents and even teachers be expected to detach themselves from reality and forget about how scores impact them?
 
Faced with the problems in the educational system, many dedicated educationalists endeavour to open up new horizons for students.
 
In recent years, some schools have launched a life education curriculum and spiritual education. Some schools adopt positive education as their educational philosophy to help students develop positive interpersonal relationships, positive emotions, “positive physical health, engagement, accomplishment” and positive meaning, and empower them to flourish in life.
 
These can be considered as bringing the educational objective from dissemination of knowledge back to the most fundamental, most essential element which is often neglected in the secular world: developing one’s personal qualities.
 
We understand that in modern, secular education, every kind of assessment providing students with substantial life skills for the future is an important issue. However, in view of the rapid changes and uncertainties in modern times, the coming generations, apart from acquiring these skills, need spiritual nourishment as well. 
 
Spiritual nourishment enables children to experience love and be loved, and allows them to have the courage to cherish life and know how to cherish life so that they can face all kinds of challenges as they journey into their future.
 
This ideal education should not be the sole concern schools. In fact, learning, education and even the formation of the whole person require the family. This important factor has, however, been gradually neglected. 
 
In addition to the knowledge acquired and good peer and teacher-student relationships at school, the care and good examples given by the family are of utmost importance, particularly for the moral development of teenagers or the formation of the Catholic conscience. Only when the next generations have this conscience and the ability to practise good deeds can they live an abundant life.
 
Jesus Christ embodies love and truth in action and and sets the ultimate good example. Thanks to his unconditional love and acceptance, of his disciples gathered around in spite of their various backgrounds. It is this kind of teaching by example and master-disciple relationship that serve as important elements in education. SE