HK Daily - Indian banker sees the education deficit in Hong Kong
Once upon a time, India and Hong Kong are both British colonies. Later on, India gained independence while Hong Kong had returned to China. While the two regions are seemingly diametrically opposite, due to the colonial influence, there is subtle connection between the two. "I grew up in India, educated probably like most people in Hong Kong – under strict rules, and basically no chance to play around." When his daughter was born, Aniruddh Gupta decided to bring Safari Kid to Hong Kong, hoping to make up for the deficiency of the education system in Hong Kong as an outsider.
Hong Kong parents are aware of molding their kids to "win at the starting line", however Aniruddh doesn’t entirely share the same point of view. He obviously understands the pros of developing kids’ potential at the earliest stage, and he also acknowledges the fact that Hong Kong examination system is hindering full kids’ development. Aniruddh said: "The kids go to school every day for four to five hours, but after they come home, the parents still need to teach them simple arithmetic and writing. That make me wonder: isn’t this the responsibility of their teachers? The mainstream pre-schools in Hong Kong only let the children play during classes, lacking of opportunity for them to read, write, and not even arithmetic to be taught. However when the kids enroll into kindergarten, they are being interviewed on reading, writing and arithmetic. This situation consequently gives rise to tutorial classes, which aim to equip the kids for kindergartens interviews. Is this what education is about? And as a parent, is it a necessary extra cost that we should devote?
According to statistics on minority population in 2011, there are only around 28,000 Indians living in Hong Kong, undoubtedly a minority in Hong Kong. Aniruddh is a banker, given that his job has nothing to do with education, he came to realization that he could not regard Hong Kong as his original roots, upon his daughter’s birth. Language is one of the obstacles but more importantly, the identity and class distinction further revealed the blind spots of Hong Kong education system. Aniruddh pointed out that, Indians living in Hong Kong are divided into three different groups, with distinguished boundaries.
The first group consists of those who have lived in Hong Kong for many years and have settled down with their next generations, and most of them are restaurant owners. Another group consists of young professionals like engineer, banker, architect etc., and Aniruddh is obviously one of them; the third group is mainly consisted of blue-collar workers, they are at the edge of the border, rarely have to the opportunity to voice out in the society.
We all know that each society has different social classes, but when it comes a place which is not your hometown, the identity and class distinction is even greater emerging from the difference in ones’ self-ability and values. Especially in Hong Kong, the gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger, education as a means of social norms, if we didn’t choose or apply properly, the society will be harmed and also us at last.
Coming from his original background and experience, Aniruddh introduced Safari Kid, founded by Ms Shy from California, and established Safari Kid Hong Kong earlier this year. It is one of the only pre-schools in Hong Kong offering full time programmes. Understanding the importance of the language used in education, Aniruddh adopted a special approach in bilingual teaching – half of the day is taught in English while the remaining half in Mandarin, as the kids are exposed to the language for a longer period of time, their listening and speaking ability will be enhanced, strengthening their language foundation.
Having been in Hong Kong for 14 years, although he loves Hong Kong, it is obvious to tell that Aniruddh loves India too. He met his wife in India, and he got really excited when talking about India's largest festival of Diwali (Diwali) and all kinds of festive celebrations in India. He said that Diwali in India is like Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, they would go visit their friends and families every day. I believe it’s the lively environment and atmosphere that makes Aniruddh loves Hong Kong. Diwali is coming in October, it would be fun to know how Aniruddh will celebrate this year!
Safari Kid is founded in California, Ms Shy, the founder being rewarded by the California Legislature for her contribution to the early childhood education, She has met with the President and First Lady of the United States to discuss her unique teaching principles that applied to Safari Kid in the U.S. Safari Kid has been recognised for being instrumental in providing 21st century education for children globally through proprietary ‘Brain Train’ principles and methodologies.
The Safari Kid method is adapted according to each child’s capability, not of his/her age. Tapping into the child’s core cognitive, social, physical, emotional and creative abilities, Safari Kid introduces academics at a young age in a fun and engaging environment. In the U.S., Safari Kid has a proven track record of accelerating the process of pupils learning, with its graduates typically being two levels ahead of their peers when they enter primary school.
Eat Play Love for the babies
Aniruddh cited research indicates that the learning ability of children aged before five is up to 85%. And on top of that, when the baby is still inside its mother, it has been constantly absorbing things around. In view of this, Safari Kid organized the " EAT, PLAY, LOVE" event , inviting Frenchbaby food brand BEABA, online baby shop Hopla Baby, IAIM baby massage instructor and yoga classes tutor Little Yogis to share with parents the experience and skills to nurture newborn babies.
Event: EAT PLAY LOVE Mother & Baby/Bump clinic
Date: Monday 15 September 2014
Where: Safari Kid, L101 Chi Fu Landmark, Chi Fu Fa Yeun, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong.
Fee: Free Admission
Enquiry: 2177 0001