A Panel on Education has been set up comprised of eleven legislators who called on the Education Bureau to consider setting maximum hours of homework for primary school pupils, restricting homework assigned on Fridays to the same amount as other days, and making at least one school break homework-free.
Ann Chiang Lai-wan, chairwoman of the panel told the South China Morning Post:
“Many pupils have to work three hours to finish their homework after school. It’s so inhumane.”
Full-day primary schooling was adopted in Hong Kong in 1993, and almost all primary schools had switched from half-day to full-day by 2015.
This change was widely supported by families with two working parents, but the increasing amounts of homework have put a strain on many households.
A study by charity Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service found that 13% or one in seven, of the 1,301 Primary Three to Primary Six pupils polled showed signs of depression.
The Education Bureau in a paper given to the panel said that setting a daily maximum amount of homework load is “definitely unprofessional” given the different learning levels of students.
However, Ip Kin-yuen, a lawmaker for the education sector, replied:
“There are many regions like California which [have] regulations on the maximum amount of homework for students in each grade. France and Taiwan also have similar rules... Are these countries ‘definitely unprofessional’?”
The panel passed motions to call on the Education Bureau to further study overseas examples and reconsider capping the number of hours primary school students spend on their homework and the maximum amount of homework a student should be given.