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LCQ6: History and national education


    Following is a question by the Hon Chim Pui-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (May 11):


The recent approval by the Japanese Government of the history textbooks for secondary schools written by a right-wing group, which distort the historical facts of Japan's invasion of its neighbouring countries, including China, during the Second World War, has aroused objections by residents in Hong Kong and in the Mainland.  Regarding history and national education in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) how it enhances history and national education in primary and secondary schools; and

(b) how the authorities will continuously promote and enhance history and national education in primary and secondary schools after implementing the 3+3+4 schooling structure?


Madam President,

(a) The Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) attaches great importance to history and national education in primary and secondary schools.  Regarding history education, the measures taken include:

* Chinese History as an essential element of learning in basic education has been highlighted in the various documents promulgated over the past few years on curriculum reform, including Learning to Learn (2001), Basic Education Curriculum Guide, Volume One (2002) and Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary One - Secondary Three (2002), all prepared by the Curriculum Development Council.

* A new module on National Identity and Chinese Culture has been included in the curriculum for General Studies in primary schools since 2002 to assist students in understanding Chinese history and culture.

* Curriculum documents have stated clearly that at junior secondary levels, not less than 25% of the total curriculum time for the Key Learning Area on Personal, Social and Humanities Education should be allocated to learning and teaching of Chinese History, regardless of the approach adopted by the school in planning the curriculum concerned.  In other words, all junior secondary students are required to study Chinese History.

* History education provides studies on the development of the country and the nation.  Apart from fostering understanding, interest and reflection in this aspect, it aims at training students to develop a broad-based approach and a critical mind in dealing with historical materials, to pursue truth through verification, to discern facts with sound evaluations, and to build up balanced viewpoints.  Students are expected to have a deeper understanding of the national history from a broad-based global perspective.

    To enhance students' understanding of the motherland and strengthen their sense of belonging to it, EMB has been taking the following measures:

* New Curriculum: With the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, there is a consensus in the community that we have to develop students' national identity. It is one of the seven curriculum goals under the curriculum reform. The aim is to assist students to "understand their national identity and be committed to contributing to the nation and society", i.e. to enhance students' national consciousness through different Key Learning Areas 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.

* Existing curriculum to enhance students' understanding of the country:

(1) Schools cultivate students' sense of national identity through various subjects, including General Studies, Chinese Language and Putonghua at the primary level, and Civic Education, Chinese Language, Chinese History, Social Studies, Economic and Public Affairs, Government and Public Affairs, Geography, Liberal Studies, etc. at the secondary level.

(2) From September 2004, a strand of National Identity and Chinese Culture has been added to the primary school curriculum of General Studies.

(3) Additional topics to enhance students' understanding of the motherland are incorporated into the Personal, Social and Humanities Education curriculum at different key stages.

(4) In the proposed new senior secondary curriculum, elements of national education are also found in Liberal Studies. Two compulsory units, namely Hong Kong Today and Modern China are included in the learning area of Society and Culture.

* Teacher development programmes: Teacher development programmes for primary and secondary school teachers have been organised by EMB in the form of seminar with themes on Chinese culture, national symbols, history, geography, politics, etc.  The EMB has also commissioned local tertiary institutions to organise moral and civic education curriculum modules with themes on Interaction between Contemporary China and the International Society, Traditional Chinese Culture, National Education, etc.

* Subsidies for national education activities: The EMB has assisted schools to promote national education under various subsidy schemes, including:

(1) the Moral and Civic Education grant which may be used by schools for organising co-curricular activities on national education and procuring related teaching and learning resources, and

(2) the Chinese Cultural Project Incentive Award Scheme implemented since 1997, which was renamed Study Trip to the Mainland of China Programme in 2005.

* Producing and publishing learning and teaching materials: To facilitate schools to promote national education, 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, ETV programmes, etc. to help teachers enhance students' understanding of the country in a lively and diversified way.

* Others:

(1) Nine groups, each of 187 Secondary Six and post-secondary students and 17 group leaders, will be arranged for a 10-day National Education Course to be held in Beijing in the next three years.  Students returning from the course are required to help teachers to promote national education in schools.

(2) From end-April 2005, Mainland scholars and officials have been invited to give talks under the programme of Understanding Contemporary China ? Talk Series by scholars and experts from the Mainland.  Target participants are Secondary Four to Secondary Seven students and teachers of primary and secondary schools.  At present, the programme has attracted over 1100 enrolments.

(3) In July 2005, a Military Summer Camp for Hong Kong Youth will be jointly organised with the Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong, People's Liberation Army Camp Visiting Committee Hong Kong and Moral Education Concern Group.  About 100 Secondary Three or Secondary Four male students will be selected to participate in the 12-day training programme to strengthen their national identity and to cultivate proper perception of national defence.

(4) Various activities such as flag-raising training, museum learning activities, exhibitions, garrison visits, essay competitions, etc. will be co-organised with other government departments and non-government organisations.

(5) Educational activities will also be organised by EMB to strengthen teachers' and students' sense of belonging towards the country during National Day celebration each year.

(b) History and national education will continuously be promoted in primary and secondary schools after implementing the 3+3+4 schooling structure.  Measures include:

* The reformed senior secondary curriculum builds on the basic education.  One of the learning goals is to help each student to be an informed and responsible citizen with a sense of global and national identity.

* Under the proposed new Senior Secondary academic structure, the student programme is composed of 3 components: core subjects, elective subjects and other learning experiences.  Liberal Studies, one of the core subjects, develops positive values and attitudes including civic responsibility and national identity in the context of Hong Kong.  For those students with special interest in History may choose elective subjects such as History and Chinese History.  Moreover, other learning experiences also include moral and civic education.

* To sum up, diversified learning, teaching and assessment are used to suit the different needs, interests and abilities of students.  More opportunities are provided for students to gain experience in moral and civic areas.  All these measures can enhance history and national education.

Ends/Wednesday, May 11, 2005


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