On average, a Hong Kong student in a local government-funded school spends at least 4 hours in classes on English each week. This does not include the time spent on doing exercises. Nor does it include, in English-medium schools, the time spent on learning other subjects supposedly using English. Why is it that, after 13 years, the typical Hong Kong student cannot read and write English at a reasonable level? Isn’t the time spent in English classes thus largely wasted?
Roughly the same amount of time is spent in mathematics classes. Yet the typical Hong Kong student is doing quite well in mathematics compared to students in other countries. Why is it that the English lessons are not producing similarly satisfactory results?
Why aren’t the students motivated to learn proper English - when everyone agrees that English is so important?
Why do so many of the students find the English classes boring - when reading and writing can be such rewarding activities if properly taught and enjoyed?
Why do so few ever discover the joy of reading and writing - when most of us should have the potential to do so?
Whose fault is it? The teachers? The schools? The government? The parents? The students?
I say the government must bear a large part of the responsibilities because it sets the policies governing language learning.