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LCQ 20: National education


Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (November 3):


In reply to a question raised at the Legislative Council meeting on December 4, 2002, the Secretary for Education and Manpower advised that the Government would enhance national education in primary and secondary schools, so as to strengthen the students' awareness of their national identity and nationalism, and would accordingly take six measures, including curriculum reform, strengthening elements of national education in the school curriculum, enhancing teachers' training, providing subsidy schemes, producing learning and teaching resources and undertaking a research project. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(a) given that one of the above measures was the production of an educational television programme entitled "I love China" in the 2002-03 school year for kindergarten students, whether the programme teaches the students to distinguish between "I love China" and "I love the Communist Party of China"; if so, of the relevant details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) of the position and effects in implementing the above measures;

(c) of the estimated and actual expenses for each of the above measures;

(d) whether the national education programme gives an account of the "June 4th incident", the history of democratic movements in both China and Hong Kong and the "great marches on July 1"; if so, of the relevant details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e) whether they have consulted students, teachers and parents on the above measures; if so, of the consultation results; if not, the reasons for that?


Madam President,

(a) The ETV program, entitled "I love China", targeting for kindergarten students, aims to develop in them a sense of belonging to our country, a respectful attitude to the national flag and national anthem and to encourage them to cherish and observe the traditional Chinese culture. With the program content focusing on celebration activities of the National Day organized in a kindergarten and the daily life of a kindergarten pupil with her family, it hopes to develop students' appreciation towards the splendid traditional Chinese culture (such as courtesy and filial piety) and the rich cultural heritage and to cultivate their pride and sense of belonging towards our country.

(b) (i) Curriculum reform: With the return of Hong Kong to our motherland, there is a need to develop students' national identity. It is one of the seven curriculum goals under the curriculum reform. The aim is to enhance students' national identity through different Key Learning Areas (KLA) and by providing them with various learning experiences. Moral and civic education is one of the four key tasks advocated in the curriculum reform of which national identity is one of the priority values schools have to develop among students.

(ii) Strengthening elements of national education in the curriculum: In the revised primary school curriculum of the subject General Studies, the strand of "national identity and Chinese culture" has been added. Additional topics to enhance students' understanding of the motherland are incorporated into the Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE) KLA curriculum at different key stages. In the proposed new senior secondary curriculum, elements of national education are also found in the subject Liberal Studies. Three compulsory units, namely: Life in Hong Kong under 'One Country, Two systems', Development of Modern China, and Chinese Cultural Heritage in the Modern World and an elective part on Chinese Way of Life in Global Society are included in the Area of Study of Society and Culture. Details are listed in Appendix 1.

(iii) Teacher development program: Teacher development programs for primary and secondary school teachers were organised by the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) in the form of seminar with themes on Chinese culture, history, geography and politics etc. The EMB has also commissioned local tertiary institutes to organise moral and civic education curriculum modules with themes on interaction between contemporary China and the international society, traditional Chinese culture and national education.

(iv) Subsidies for national education activities: The EMB has assisted schools to promote national education by providing various subsidies including the Moral and Civic Education grant which is paid on the basis of $400/class/annum. Schools could use the grant to organise co-curricular activities and to procure teaching and learning resources. Besides, the EMB has implemented the Chinese Cultural Project Incentive Award Scheme since 1997. The upper limit of each application is $50,000. In 2004, the EMB has initiated the "Study Trip to the Mainland of China Program". These activities help to enhance students', teachers' and parents' understanding of current developments and cultural aspects of our motherland, to develop their national identity and to strengthen their commitment towards the betterment of our country.

(v) Learning and teaching materials: To facilitate schools to promote national education, the EMB has produced and published various kinds of learning and teaching materials in the form of teaching kits, CD ROMs, video tapes, wall charts, web-based materials and ETV program etc to help teachers to enhance students' understanding of our motherland in a lively and diversified way.

(vi) Research project: In the 2002-2003 school year, the EMB has conducted a research project entitled "Co-curricular activities to develop students' national identity in primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong" in six primary and secondary schools. The research has identified school experiences in relation to the development of students' national identity through participating in co-curricular activities, the limitations in implementation and further developments etc.

(c) Estimate and expenditure of the initiatives are set out at Annex II.

(d) The promotion of national education is worked through different subjects in schools, including are General Studies, Chinese Language and Putonghua at primary level, Civic Education, Chinese Language, Chinese History, Social Studies, Economic and Public Affairs, Government and Public Affairs, Geography and Liberal Studies etc at secondary level. The curriculum content of the learning of contemporary Chinese History has been extended to the end of 20th century. The Chinese History curriculum design emphasises broad historical trend while individual historical events are not listed out in the syllabus. However, teachers could discuss these events under related themes. As thematic learning approach is adopted, students are encouraged to learn history from a holistic point of view. Teachers are recommended to perform the role as facilitators and adopt an objective and balanced approach when handling historical and current events. They should also advise students on how to collect information, to distinguish between facts and opinions and to reach conclusion based on sufficient evidence. Such a teaching method is in line with the spirit of education reform and could also help students to cope with future challenges of the society.

(e) The EMB would issue consultation documents to collect views from all stakeholders on the curriculum content when implementing curriculum reform and introducing new curriculum. Schools would be informed of and invited to apply for different teacher development programs, subsidies schemes and grant through circular memorandum. In the production of learning and teaching materials, pilot studies and trial teaching were conducted in schools to identify the needs of teachers and students.

Ends/Wednesday, November 3, 2004


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