Results of different Hong Kong Education Bureau’s Assessment Program for Affective and Social Outcomes (APASO) surveys have shown that secondary school students who come from socially and/or financially disadvantaged backgrounds and with learning and self-image issues typically have lower academic and career expectations as well as lower self-satisfaction. On the other hand, youth having a positive attitude and life skills is more critical than ever in HK, as frequently students commit suicide. Hong Kong’s high-pressure education system is seen as largely to blame with its immense pressure on the exam system. School teachers are often overwhelmed with school administration and curriculum-related tasks. School social workers dealing with critical cases have often heavy caseloads and are under-resourced. Students at-risk are therefore often not identified and there is no time to support them in improving their learning attitude, motivation and self-esteem or instill positive attitudes so they can feel hopeful and resilient. Higher resilience is vital to feeling prepared to face challenges and to enable students from under-resourced families to access high quality and higher education as well as to aspire to larger career possibilities.
Teach Unlimited Foundation (TUF) is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 in Hong Kong by a group of local parents concerned about the quality of education for socially disadvantaged students in Hong Kong. The NGO’s mission is to support students to realize their dreams via three program strands: 1) support the education and personal development of socially disadvantaged students through enhancing their learning attitude, motivation and self-esteem; 2) develop high caliber and socially conscious university graduates as role models to advance the cause of quality education for all and 3) model an effective approach to mentorship and promote its integration into youth education in Hong Kong. TUF reaches its mission by training university graduates to be TUF Program Mentors (PMs). Stationed full-time in partner schools for two years, they serve as role models for students and deliver TUF programs, which complement the school curriculum and comprise: 1) individual and structured one-to-one mentoring; 2) small group activities during and after class, as well as 3) special school-wide projects. This program is called the Dream Pursuing Project (DPP), which is implemented for over 1 year. During that year, there is an event called Dream Pursuing Day where students participate in one full day of activities. To date, TUF has worked with 19 schools in HK, and in 2019-2020, they plan to work in 6 schools.
EMpower’s 3rd grant to Teach Unlimited Foundation (TUF) is supporting the total costs of the “Dream Pursuing Day” (DPD) activities for 200 disadvantaged students 14 to 19 years old from 6 schools in Hong Kong. The DPD exposes students to professionals from different spheres to promote the concept of life and career planning and to give them an overview of different types of jobs. In addition, a core group of 90 students will be mentored by Program Mentors (PM) in one-to-one sessions as well as in small group activities during and after class to enhance their learning attitude, motivation and self-esteem.
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