Promotion of Holistic Development of Young People in Hong Kong

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Daniel T.L. Shek, PhD (Editor)
Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, PRC
Public Policy Research Institute, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, PRC
Department of Social Work, East China Normal University, Shanghai, PRC
Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau, PRC
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America

Tak Yan Lee (Editor)
Department of Applied Social Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, PR China

Joav Merrick, MD, MMedSci, DMSc, (Editor)
Medical Director, Health Services, Division for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Jerusalem, Israel
Division of Adolescent Medicine, KY Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel
Division of Pediatrics, Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Centers, Mt Scopus Campus, Jerusalem, Israel
School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Series: Pediatrics, Child and Adolescent Health
BISAC: MED069000

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Research findings showed that secondary school students in Hong Kong face many challenges. In particular, morbid emphasis on academic excellence has created much competition and stress in high school students. It was estimated that around one-fifth of secondary school students in Hong Kong had different forms of mental disorders. In a three-year longitudinal study, it was found that the prevalence rates of Internet addiction in Secondary 1, Secondary 2 and Secondary 3 students were 26.4%, 26.6% and 22.5%, respectively. In the same study, suicidal ideation in junior secondary school students was found in more than one-tenth of the students. At the same time, there were more than two-tenths of students showing signs of self-harm and suicidal behavior in junior secondary years. The number of adolescents experiencing economic disadvantage has increased while family solidarity has dropped in recent years.

In spite of these adolescent developmental issues, the lack of life education and life skills training in secondary school students has made the situation worse. Although moral and civic education is one of the pillars in the new 6-year secondary school curriculum, there are several problems involved. First, the coverage on social and emotional learning in the curriculum guide is very thin. Second, although there are curricula materials on life skills training in the field, validated curricula are almost non-existent. In fact, in a review of adolescent prevention and positive youth development programs in Asia, Shek and Yu pointed out that there were very few validated evidence-based programs in Hong Kong. Third, training in social-emotional learning and adolescent prevention programs is grossly inadequate in Hong Kong. Finally, while nobody would dispute the importance of life skills and psychosocial competence, such topics are seldom taught in depth in the school contexts. (Imprint: Nova)

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