HK: Beliefs, less pressure make South Asians happier than Chinese schoolmates
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HK: Beliefs, less pressure make South Asians happier than Chinese schoolmates

According to a survey, South Asian school children in Hong Kong — children of Pakistani, Indian or Nepali immigrants — appear to be happier than their Chinese counterparts. Findings show the difference maker could be their religious beliefs and less pressure to excel in school from parents.

Hong Kong Institute of Education has conducted the survey from late last year to this year’s summer season involving five schools whose students come from various backgrounds. The institute collected almost 2,000 survey responses on questions related to school, family, relationships and living environment.

Based on survey results, it turns out that South Asian children are generally happier and have higher levels of confidence and satisfaction. For instance, on a scale of six, South Asian students rated satisfaction at school at 4.45 while local-born Chinese counterparts had 3.81 and mainland-born children had 3.96 rating.

“South Asians tend to come from religious families, which give them different values from Chinese families,” according to Dr Celeste Yuen Yuet-mui, associate professor at the HKIE’s department of education policy and leadership who was motivated to conduct the survey amid rising number of students committing suicide.

It’s not only school life that makes South Asian children feel happy about. When it comes to family life, they are also happier (4.64) than the two groups of Chinese school children (4.26 mainland and 4.23 local). It also appears that religious beliefs of these ethnic minorities have played a role in a rather more contented and happier life. Apparently with less pressure from parents when it comes to school performance, South Asian kids understandably are happier than the Chinese, whose parents may have set more lofty academic expectations.

Have you wished you were back to days when you were a kid? Perhaps, older kids surveyed also share the same sentiment. Younger pupils — regardless of ethnicity — are happier at school, with a rating of 4.27 in a scale of five. On the other hand, senior year level students on average had only 4.05 rating of happiness.

Competitive education system and too much pressure from parents could drive these kids insane, and prospects of a good career can easily diminish once they fail to enter the university. The quest for academic excellence, and subsequent career success, starts at an age when I thought young kids should be wandering in the playground. But that’s Hong Kong life, and everyone must need to deal with it.