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HK students to equip themselves to help promote national education

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, said today (January 15) that China's 30 years of reform and opening-up not only contributed to the speedy development of the Mainland, but also the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.  He said he hoped that students participating in the national education exchange programme would have a new perspective to contemplate how to be responsible individuals and members of society through understanding the history and developments of the nation.  He also called on teachers to help students develop independent and critical thinking and encourage interaction and sharing among them.

     Mr Tang made the remarks while officiating at the launching ceremony for the "Passing on the Torch: Exploring and Embracing Chinese Culture" National Education Exchange Programme: Tracing Our Origin in Ancient Cities.  Under the exchange programme, around 2,500 secondary school students and teachers will visit six ancient Chinese cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Nanjing, Xian and Zhengzhou -- starting on January 31.

     Mr Tang said, "Chinese culture and history are two very important foundations of national education.  While the design of the curriculum and classroom learning are key to an understanding of our culture and history, there is an old Chinese saying that travelling is better than reading.  I'm sure students will gain tremendous first-hand experience through visits to historical sites and magnificent scenes on the Mainland which form the backbone of the great Chinese civilisation.

     "There is special significance behind this national education exchange programme organised by the HKSAR Government.  The three-year mega project will bring as many as 10,000 teachers and students to visit different cultural heritage sites and organisations on the Mainland.  Students can go beyond the curriculum and understand the history, culture and recent developments of our country in a more comprehensive and direct way, cultivating a strong sense of belonging to the nation," Mr Tang added.

     Other officiating guests at today's launching ceremony, held at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, included the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen; the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of The Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR, Mr Wang Zhi-min; executive chairpersons of the Organising Committee for the "Passing On the Torch" National Education Activity Series and representatives from school councils.

     "Passing on the Torch: Exploring and Embracing Chinese Culture" National Education Exchange Programme: Tracing Our Origin in Ancient Cities is organised by the Education Bureau to commemorate the first anniversary of an on-line platform providing links to information on national education-related activities organised by the Bureau and other social organisations.

     This mega exchange programme is also one of the Education Bureau's key initiatives with the concerted efforts of social organisations to further promote national education in the school sector in support of the pledge outlined in the Chief Executive's Policy Address in 2008 and 2009.

     This programme has the largest number of participating students and teachers visiting the Mainland since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and covers the greatest number of cities during a single trip.  

     Apart from attending a seminar on China's foreign relations over the past six decades, participating teachers and students will take various means of transport including the express rail link to cultural and historical sites, renowned academic institutions and research institutes, museums and big corporations.

     The leader of the delegation and Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, will join participants on the Zhengzhou trip to meet municipal officials as well as teachers and students of local institutions for a better understanding of the rich history of Henan Province, and trace the roots of Chinese civilisation by visiting the Yellow River and relics from the reign of Emperor Xuan Yuan.

     Upon their return to Hong Kong, delegates will consolidate what they have learned and put it to good use in project learning activities for sharing with fellow students and teachers on the way forward to help promote national education in schools.

     For more information on the Education Bureau's work in promoting national education, please visit the website of its Moral and Civic Education Section at .

Ends/Friday, January 15, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:15


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