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Social distancing Impact in Hong Kong

The advent of COVID in the last two years has changed the face of the world in many untold ways. Hong Kong as well is not an exception when it comes to such changes. The rippling effect of all such unexpected change is felt in the major sections of society such as education, health care and even finance sectors putting the economy as a whole at stake for all valid reasons. Adding to the visible misery is the mass exodus of expatriates.

Hong Kong has witnessed almost the same crisis and situation about two decades ago during SARS when many people left for their home countries fearing the safety of their families .Now after a long gap this country is placed in the same helpless situation. The gradual exodus which started with 2019 protests has gained momentum since last year and has hit a record high as the realisation sank in people’s minds that the stringent travel restrictions are here to stay, contributing to that the impact of National Law as well has changed public life at different levels in many unseen ways. People as such in the last few months are moving to their home countries seeking good timely health care and better education for their children and also to be close to their extended families in the time of crisis. Sad reality of all the exodus thing is that many of such people moving out are among the highly skilled workers who contribute to the society and in turn the economy. The drain of such skilled contributors from Hong Kong has deepened now which is slowly eroding the cream of the society.

As the pandemic effect sees a bigger exodus than before needless to mention it has made a manifold impact on the education of students both big and small alike. There are these kindergarten students on one side who haven’t experienced much of school as all the classes went online whenever the cases spiked in numbers. Even though its virtual learning teachers and schools are doing their best to impart quality education to the students at home by sending needed materials and providing small group lessons for the convenience of students. But those little kids in their formative years of education are losing the opportunity of quality play time with kids their age which in some way is impending the skill of social interaction, building new friendships and quality of adjusting and accommodating in a new

setting as they are huddled up in the comfort of their own homes in front of devices with just their families around.

Same is the story of kids transitioning from kindergarten to primary. These poor ones did not even get to experience what a full time school is like. The secondary students and students pursuing even bigger studies are also in the same boat where not just the classes but even the friendships and teacher student relationships have also become virtual.

Students at crucial stages of their education like the ones sitting for board exams and university exams are suffering the most owing to the uncertainty of the situation and unfinished lessons. Certain subjects need in person lessons, failure of which puts the understanding of main concepts at compromise. We all are aware that not all students are born with the same capabilities to adapt and learn at a faster pace. Some may have difficulty coping up with the pressure and may need some extra help and attention to have a clear picture of the subject taught. Learning losses are found to be much higher among such students who are solely dependent on schools or colleges for resources and help from their teachers. These kids are unable to perform to the best of their abilities which results in bad scores and in turn jeopardise their future prospects.

Apart from students and their studies the pandemic situation has also had an impact on teachers and other education professionals. They had to abruptly build and plan home learning lesson systems within no time when they were absolutely unprepared for the transition from in person to online lessons. Adding to this is the passing of National Law,as mentioned earlier, has brought in significant changes in the school curriculums which many  teachers could not adapt to in the classroom as they had opposing views to a few points. Even though they do not agree to it wholly, they as teachers have the responsibility to help students understand its objective and instill an appreciation of the concept. These uncalled for changes in the education system are contributing to the moving away of both teachers and students seeing the influx of Mainland Chinese students, steadily growing in past few years, has widened during the covid situation.

To sum it up, as I read somewhere, Hong Kong was referred to as a “borrowed city” where people always come and go very often for their own reasons since years together but the harsh part of the present exodus is, the set of people moving out currently are the ones who have lived here since birth with their families as their hometown. Those who are leaving, not all of though, are taking their savings along with them despite the government restricting the BNO passport holders from withdrawing their investments and savings. Thus the economy is facing billions of dollars of loss

With many changes happening around in every field and many yet to come people pray and hope that the country gets over with the pandemic effect and wish that Hong Kong becomes the same old thriving and lively place oozing life, welcoming all back again in here.

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