More than 50 percent of parents in Hong Kong have arranged at least three extra-curricular activities for their children now that pandemic curbs have been eased, with nearly one third spending more than HK$5,000 a month on classes of interest to their kids, a two-fold increase from last year, a survey by the Exhibition Group has found.
The survey of 1,992 parents conducted early this year revealed an increasing trend among children to take classes of interest, with about 25 percent of children having four or more ECAs this year, a 10 percent increase from last year.
About 36 percent of children have engaged in three to four ECAs this year, a 2.3 percent rise, while those taking four to five ECAs showed a 3 percent increase to 14.3 percent. Those taking six ECAs or more rose 8 percent.
The group's head of corporate communications, Alan Wong Tai-kwan, said children now engage in more diversified activities; for instance, sports, arts, culture and even new forms of activities combining sport and technology, such as drone soccer - players controlling football-shaped drones and flying the drones between the goalposts.
"Parents are putting more and more resources into strengthening self-confidence and developing the potential of children," said Wong. "Despite Covid
-19, we did not see a shrinkage in the ECA market, but instead, more exhibitors are participating this year."
Parents were showing increased support for children and prioritizing interest development.
Nine-year-old multimedia artist Arthus Ng Lai-yin has explored his interest in digital art creation since his infancy.
Ng's mother said the right use of the internet encourages children to further explore interests, provided that ECAs can go digital and be combined with technology.
"It is important that parents are willing to go ahead and let their kids be familiar with technology at an early age in the digital era," said Ng's mum, who is also an artist.
Hong Kong football team player Rio Leung Kwun-chung said the football classes he joined when young made him the professional he is today. "Without extracurricular activities, I would not become the person I am today."
The Exhibition Group will be holding a three-day ECA Expo from May 19 to 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to feature nine exhibitions, workshops and competitions, including the four-wheel driving cars, Hong Kong-style flower boards and drone soccer.
A workshop highlighting Jurassic dinosaur robots will be featured to cultivate STEAM knowledge and interpersonal skills among children and develop their potential by project-based learning.