Commenting on the views expressed by some rally participants over the Moral and National Education (MNE) subject, a Government spokesman said today (July 29) that the Government fully understood their concern and would adopt a pragmatic approach in gauging public views in a bid to ease their worries.
After 10 years of preparation, the introduction of the MNE as an independent subject was announced in the 2010/2011 Policy Address. The Education Bureau (EDB) released in April this year the Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide stressing the need to cultivate students' ability to adopt an objective and multi-perspective approach in the analysis of issues.
"The community at large supported the need to implement this subject. The Government understands that there are concerns by some over the possibility of 'brain-washing' education. We have therefore been encouraging school-sponsoring bodies (SSB) and schools to develop their own school-based learning and teaching resources. In addition, the Government has not made it mandatory for schools to introduce this subject immediately. Schools have several years to explore the best way forward for its implementation. These measures were clearly stipulated in the EDB's circular issued to schools in May this year," the spokesman said.
"According to the Curriculum Guide, the SSBs and schools may exercise their discretion and professional judgement in deciding the learning and teaching resources. There are no mandatory learning and teaching resources imposed by the Government. This will allow sufficient room for teachers to teach the subject in a professional manner," the spokesman said.
"The clear objective of the MNE Curriculum Guide is to cultivate students' capacity to distinguish right from wrong and to think independently. Teachers should not avoid discussion of controversial issues," he said.
The EDB has pointed out clearly that schools are not obliged to fully implement this subject this September. There is a three-year "initiation period" for schools to introduce the MNE subject in a progressive manner. Schools should decide how they should introduce the subject progressively, taking into account the vision and mission laid down by their SSBs, the readiness of the school and their teachers.
To solicit more views from different stakeholders, the EDB will set up a committee with wide participation to advise the EDB on the introduction of the MNE during the three-year initiation period to dispel public anxiety.
"The SAR Government is committed to safeguarding core values such as the rights of every citizen, freedom and democracy and to accommodating different viewpoints and opinions. This stance will be fully realised when implementing the MNE subject in schools," the spokesman reiterated.
Ends/Sunday, July 29, 2012
Issued at HKT 22:55