While many of us welcome the start of an in-person school year, there are still many students scrambling to catch up from the disturbances of the past 18 months. Students in transition from primary to secondary school and from underprivileged backgrounds - without learning support and resources from their families - suffer most. These students found it more difficult to learn, actively participate and ask questions online, therefore falling behind academically. Reports have shown that students from primary, secondary and through to university continue to face a range of challenges.
Without appropriate intervention and support, there could be far-reaching negative impact to a cohort of affected students that stretches beyond just academic studies - exacerbating income disparity, impeding social mobility and hindering overall development of society as a whole. This is why we piloted #TEENforGood in February 2021 to support the learning needs of unprivileged students who have been impacted by the pandemic and are at risk of falling behind academically. The initiative offers individual online tutoring support for underprivileged secondary school students provided by tutors who are ‘graduates’ of TWF’s T.E.E.N. (Talent, Empowerment, Equality and Networking) Programme and are currently university students or fresh graduates. This also provides tutors from underprivileged backgrounds with a helpful source of financial support and the opportunity to give back to the community. More broadly, the initiative supports families, particularly women, who have taken on the extra burden of supporting their children with home school learning.
We are proud to report that the feedback has been positive from students, teachers and parents alike. Students shared enthusiastically how helpful one-on-one tutoring has been in supporting their studies and how dedicated and adept the TEEN tutors have been in helping them understand difficult subject matter. The principal from one beneficiary school noted that the students were in ‘desperate need of individual help for their studies’ and have since made ‘remarkable progress’ stating “[The students’] improvement was recognised by both their form teachers and parents. They have benefitted in different ways and all are grateful to the help given”. We have received multiple requests from students, teachers and parents to continue #TEENforGood so we are pleased to be extending it for another six months and hope to expand the initiative to reach more students who need support.
As we usher in the new school year with excitement and hope, helping the more vulnerable is absolutely vital as we look to the future. Through supporting each other we can grow stronger as a community and city. Equipped with a solid education, these students have the opportunity to be successful in their studies and future careers, improve the lives of their families and contribute to building a brighter, more equal future for Hong Kong.
Creating such transformational impact to those in need requires resources and the support from the community. If you would like to be a force for good and financially support #TEENforGood, please contact Bernard Lee at Bernard.Lee@twfhk.org.