In recent years, Hong Kong education system has undergone a great change. In the past, students studied five-year junior secondary education, two-year senior secondary education and three-year tertiary education. Since school year 2009/10, secondary and tertiary education composed of three-year junior secondary education, three-year senior education and four-year tertiary education (3-3-4 Scheme). Apart from the academic structure of education system, new compulsory subjects like Liberal Studies was also introduced to facilitate independent thinking of students. The examples given above showed that the HKSAR government is working hard to change the education system from similar to the British system, to similar to the Chinese system. Given that Hong Kong’s education system changes from time to time, how will the sociologists see from these changes? The following essay is going to discuss the education system of Hong Kong based on the following three sociological perspective: the structural-functional approach, the social-conflict approach and the symbolic-interaction approach.
The first perspective to be discussed is the structural-functional perspective. According to Macionis, structural-functional approach is a framework for building theory that
sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote
solidarity and stability (Macionis, 2011). Education serves as different functions. The first function is to equip citizens with different skills so that they can apply these learnt skills to function as gear of the society. In Hong Kong, students need to learn Chinese, English and Mathematics in primary school. These three subjects serve as basic tools in communication and arithmetic in daily life. When students move on to secondary schools, they are more capable of mastering other skills such as logic and norm, and specialized subjects such as Physics and Geography. The above skills help students to adapt to social norms and be able to fit into society. With the basic skills learnt in secondary school, some students will proceed to tertiary education and learn more specialized skills. Education in this stage serves as teaching specialized skills so that they can perform specialized occupations in the future, like teachers and doctors.
Apart from theoretical knowledge, education acts as an agent for socialization. Children accept primary socialization from parents when they are infants. When these children grow up and attend school, school become sites for secondary socialization. At school, students gain knowledge about common language in society, including spoken language, dominant culture, social rules and moral beliefs. They also learn how to be discipline, obey authority and communicate with others. Nowadays, Hong Kong students spend at least 5 hours at school in average every day. Students are easily influenced by their surrounding, teachers and colleagues. Since Hong Kong is a Chinese-dominant society, most students are...