Each year, Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) is undertaken by around 60,000 – 70,000 students of Hong Kong, hoping to achieve admirable results which can pave their further education and career paths.
On Wednesday, as the results of 2017 HKDSE exams came out, there were many who were in joyful mood, including Muslim students in Hong Kong. Point to note that though not every one got what they dreamed of, it’s vital the efforts of everyone are acknowledged to make sure they remain positive regardless of the results.
A number of Muslim students studying at IKTMC (Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College) attained some splendid results, Alhumdulilah.
Similar to last year, Muslim Council of Hong Kong interviewed our bright stars of the future to find out more about this success from them. Uzma Nisa Khan was the best achiever bringing home the top 5** level in four exams including English Writing, English Speaking, Liberal Studies and History. Another female student, Javaria Ghaffar also managed to earn the 5** in English Speaking exam whilst Rahman Safaq Anse, Attiyyah-Zaineb and many others, as can be seen by the poster attached, accomplished the 5* level in various subjects.
Some of the students, we were informed have already been offered to study at various Hong Kong universities. Before we hear from the students, here are some words from Mr. Razi, Raza, one of the Liberal Studies teachers at IKTMC.
“It makes me feel blessed and further motivated to invest more in our younger Muslim generation.
No doubt, the Muslim community in Hong Kong is giving back to the local society through such integration. Their presence is felt in almost all sectors of the society from education to law and the like.”
He further stated that Muslims or ethnic miniority students in Hong Kong should remain strong and organised.
“First and foremost, have faith in Allah. Secondly, work hard. Be patient and perseverant. There will be bumpy roads, but many a time those will be successful who will overcome the challenges. Third, fine tune your strategies of learning. Seek strategies which are efficient and effective.”
1) How did you manage to attain such excellent results?
My religion Islam became an impetus to challenge myself and reach for greater heights as I had faith that at the end of the day, Allah has better things written for me.
Undoubtedly, the credit goes to my family and teachers who encouraged self expression and an open space for exploration that ultimately, equipped me with a comprehensive skill set.
Javaria: I personally think that the school, teachers and my family have a big hand in making it possible for me reach up to the level I am on today.
My excellent teachers consistently made materials for our better understanding such as, exam skills, high order thinking questions to make us familiar with question types. Then, my family were always there for me as they encouraged me to work harder and made me have faith. And of course, hard work is the key to success.
The harder I worked the same amount of success I received.
Anse: I was told about IKTMC by a friend, a place where we could simultaneously learn about our faith, Islam and also learn the HKDSE syllabus. I believe it was one of the best decisions I have taken, to move to this school.
The 3 years that I have spent in this school has indeed showed me who I really am. I was no longer a machine, constantly completing assignments for the sake of submitting. I was willingly completing the assignments, which were given in appropriate amounts. And apart from that, I had more time for myself to understand what I’m learning, instead of being spoon-fed.
I believe, as a secondary school student, we should adopt independent learning. For me at least, this way of learning has been very effective.
Teachers were always there to support us, but it was our choice to excel in studies.
The unity of students in IKTMC is something worth praising. We all stood together until the end, trying hard to leave no one behind. The constant support and motivation from everyone, and the guidance from Allah has eventually brought me here today.
I am very pleased to see how our school is progressively improving, and am very proud of my batch for being one of the best.
2) Did you face any difficulties and how did you overcome them?
Uzma: Low motivation and low productivity can be a hurdle along the way and I’m sure many can relate.
Even I wanted to indulge to my desires but my family gave me constant reminders that those are just temporary glitches that can be conquered.
It required willpower to overcome distractions, but the end goal was simply too tempting therefore, I always found my way back.
One of the most difficulty I had was to concentrate under the prevalence of Facebook and Whatsapp.
Study groups made it hard to fully concentrate on studying, so I refrained from using it, which was inconvenient but it made study life much easier.
Anse: When we were told, “HKDSE is not easy, the locals have been working way harder than you are.”, it was very discouraging.
I remember a few times when I broke into tears just because of that reason.
But the more I thought about it, I realized that we are nothing less than the locals. We were mostly educated in Hong Kong, and so were they. We had the same learning materials, same syllabus and the same amount of time. Then why were we falling behind?
Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong have very low confidence when it comes to HKDSE, because the trend shows that they couldn’t do as well, which further distances them from actually making an effort.
My parents played a vital role in making me believe that I can do it. They accompanied me for every single examination, giving me mental support, which motivated me to do my best. And today, I can confidently deny the statement made up there.
3) Do you think it’s important for Muslims to consistently strive to get such results in Hong Kong?
Uzma: Yes. Muslim students consistently need to strive to get such results in Hong Kong in order to be successful in all aspects and not just academically.
Being a Muslim student, you hold much more values. Instead of having a formulated, academic obsessed life, the Muslim youth need to show how a balanced life produces the same stupendous results.
For instance, our school does not follow the mainstream, one way communication strategy and the students also don’t heavily rely on tuition. Thus, when Muslims strive, it breaks the stereotypes because we do not go by a spoon feeding strategy but still can stand out.
Javaria: I think it’s not only important but essential for us Muslims to attain higher results to be able to enter local universities.
We are a part of this society and we need to make a place for ourselves and give back to the society.
Anse: Yes, it is important for every one of us to be well-educated in Hong Kong, so that we have as much say as the locals here.
We need to build our voices, to let the society know that Muslims are not what is shown on television.
We Muslims need to build confidence in them, and work together and act as one. This way, the Muslims will not only get a space in Hong Kong, but will be respected and looked up to.
4) What are your future plans?
Uzma: To keep growing. I am so inspired by the passionate teachers of my school, they really shaped how I am today and I would want to do something similar.
I hope one day, I can also mold student’s ideas and their future too as a teacher.
Javaria: For future plans, as of now, I want to attain a bachelor degree .
As for a job in future, it would either be a teacher or a researcher.
Anse: For the time being, I have planned my future in 2 directions, which will be determined by the program I get into for further studies.
My first choice is a business program, which will hopefully equip me will professional skills that are required for running a business. My family runs a Halal Italian Restaurant in Sai Kung, which is something very rare in Hong Kong. By taking up this course, I hope to assist in improving and expanding my family business.
This will actually be quite beneficial for the Muslims in Hong Kong too, as finding good Halal food may be a hassle.
And my other program choice is for Education in English, from which I can easily enter the education field. I strongly believe that education is essential for every one of us, and have always wished to make contributions in this field.
However, my program choices simply decide my focus in the future. I still wish to contribute to both my family business and the education field, as much as I could, regardless of whichever program I enter.
5) What’s your advice to the future F.6 students especially those from the ethnic minority in Hong Kong?
Uzma: Break free. Don’t let people’s perceptions confine your abilities.
Because at the end, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations” so don’t lose hope, place your trust in Allah.
Javaria: I would just like to say that I know it’s hard for us to make a place here, but we also have received greater opportunities and continue doing so.
As ethnic minorities, representing our countries and religions, we need to strive harder to be a better representative and encourage other fellow countrymen to do so too.
Anse: Like I said before, HKDSE is not as hard as we believe it is. Everything depends on your efforts, dedication and determination. If we can do it, so can you. Some of you may be considering to give up just because there’s not much time left. Please don’t do so, it’s never too late. Honestly, most of us got in track once Form 6 started, so don’t worry yourself.
Your teachers, parents, schoolmates and all of us – your seniors are here for you.
MCHK along with all Muslims in Hong Kong and worldwide wish all the best for our shining stars of tomorrow and also to say to those who didn’t receive good results to not feel down but to believe in Allah’s plans and keep giving their best.