Successful founder of Junior Excellent Member of Society (JEMS), Christine Ma-Lau has introduced a revolutionary concept to Hong Kong education. While Hong Kong schools strive to achieve high competitive results, build knowledge and establish hard skills, her vision stands firm in the importance of developing the “roots of character” in children.
Today, Christine shares with Turf her passion for growing children into little successful leaders and how JEMS has become her dream come true.
“I was born in Canada and moved back to Hong Kong when I was four years old. Our family moved a lot when we were young because of my dad’s job and I also studied abroad. After graduating from postgraduate, I knew I wanted to move back to Hong Kong, partly because I wanted to be with family but also because I love this city. Finally, after graduating with my Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, I returned to Hong Kong and I taught at different education centres before founding JEMS.
“JEMS provides after-school classes in Character Education for children up to the age of 12 in small-group classes. The heart behind starting this place five years ago was to make education more holistic in Hong Kong. So much of what is focused on in Hong Kong is developing knowledge, academics, and hard skills, which I believe are things we should pursue, but in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Intelligence plus character – that is true education.’
“Character is what determines how you will use the knowledge you have and it is foundational for all successful leaders. Therefore, we focus on teaching children character and values – what it means to be a good friend, why it’s important to be perseverant and patient, giving children an opportunity to do community service to grow in empathy, and much more.”
A version of this article was originally posted by Monica Wong on Turf, Hong Kong’s new office lifestyle blog.
Got anything you’d like Localiiz to share? Send us your stuff!