Education is not solely the transfer of knowledge but also the nurture of character and the process of learning beyond the classroom, but the latter two are often given far less attention. Tragedies like students committing suicide become prevalent as academic stress intensifies without proper mental assistance given, notably in Hong Kong and other Asian countries where attainment of flying grades only is upheld in major culture.
Our team believes that this problem deserves a fix, starting from filling up the gap between the students in need and support staff on post. Those who are deeply rooted in psychological distress are counter-intuitively reluctant to actively seek help, as such reach-outs are already signs of improvement. We aim at breaking this vicious cycle by introducing intelligent emotion-tracking agents across campus to log emotional trends, and produce both general statistical insights and individual sentiment reports. Emotions may not be the most precise measure of psychological states, but are in fact reasonably accurate as one is unlikely to pretend smiling while feeling sad for an extended period of time. These information would enable educators to pinpoint needy children to provide help. While this product cannot replace long-term observation of student behaviours - what teachers are also responsible for, we strive to offer breadth and scale from the massive amount of data harvested, to complement dedicated help by the staffs.
Furthermore, this system can provide a general landscape of the emotions of students. For example, happiness measured by smiles can be gauged. This may serve as a reference indicator of mental well-being at the school level.
Beyond the scope of education, in every organisation, the mental statuses of the people are often left behind, even if these statuses could be pivotal to how well they behave. An illustration of this concept could be the use of this product as a source of employee feedback of a given company, because communication from bottom to up can be unreliable and biased.
Bubufds is a team of Hong Kong tertiary students including UGs from HKUST who are obsessed with how technology and business can impact society positively. With one business development officer and two software engineers, we are tackling the subtle mental issue that is so common in our local community, in which students got overwhelmed by academic stress and committed suicide. This could have been prevented if we can provide a means to target those students in the first place to offer support. We then vision a future that the mental profile of any organisation, beyond schools to companies and more, can be visualised so that members of the organisation can act upon to shape a more emotionally friendly hence inclusive and enjoyable workplace.