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LCQ20: National Education

     Following is a question by the Hon James To Kun-sun and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (July 13):


     The Education Bureau (EDB) has planned to make "moral and national education" an independent subject and fully implement it in secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong in the 2013-2014 school year; and as early as in 2001, moral and civic education had already been identified as one of the four key tasks in the curriculum reform. In addition, the National Education Centre (NEC) and the National Education Services Centre, which have been established with the support from EDB and the Home Affairs Bureau, provide support on national education each year for students and teachers in Hong Kong. Different academic groups have expressed concerns over the effectiveness the national education implemented so far. The results of the annual surveys on national identity conducted by NEC have revealed that the sense of national identity amongst students has been strengthened in recent years, but it has only been improving slowly in the last two years. On the other hand, the officer-in-charge of NEC has pointed out that each year NEC is offering 500 student exchange places on the Mainland, but the quotas are often not sufficient to meet the demand, reflecting that there is a keen demand from students for national education. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the resources injected by EDB into the area of national education in each of the past five years, the types of national education activities covered, and the allocation of resources to such activities;

(b) whether EDB will conduct regular assessments and reviews on the effectiveness of the various national education activities funded by it (such as exchange trips and national study programmes, etc.) in strengthening the sense of national identity amongst students; if it will, of the evaluation criteria;

(c) of the statistics (including the number of activities organised, the amount of resources injected and the number of participating students, etc.) on the various national education activities funded by EDB (such as exchange trips and national study programmes, etc.) in the past five years;

(d) of the total amount of subsidies from EDB for schools to organise exchange trips to the Mainland in each of the past five years; and

(e) whether the various funds (such as the Civic Education Fund or the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund) set up by the Government have funded programmes relevant to national education in the past five years; if so, of the respective amounts of funds for various programmes?



     The Moral and National Education Ad Hoc Committee under the Curriculum Development Council proposed the development of a Moral and National Education Curriculum, and launched a four-month consultation exercise on the proposed curriculum in May 2011.

     Schools in Hong Kong always attach great importance to moral and civic education, and seek to cultivate students' positive values and attitudes (e.g. respect for others, responsibility, national identity, commitment) through teaching in various key learning areas and subjects, as well as a wide range of learning experiences. Regarding national identity, Hong Kong students generally agree that they possess multiple identities. While they love Hong Kong and the motherland, they also have global vision. Nearly 75% of them consider that they have the responsibility to contribute to the development of the country.  This shows the results of schools' efforts in fostering students' national identity.

     My reply to the five-part question is as follows:

(a) The Education Bureau (EDB) promotes national education through various activities, which include running professional development programmes for teachers, developing learning and teaching resources, and organising cross-boundary exchange/learning activities for students and teachers. In the past five years, the EDB's expenditure on national education for primary and secondary schools increased from $35.3 million in 2007-08 to an estimate of $95.7 million in 2011-12, including some $7.6 million for teachers' professional development, $30.1 million for developing learning and teaching resources, and $58 million for organising cross-boundary exchange/learning activities for students and teachers.

(b) National education activities aim to help students gain a comprehensive understanding of the motherland from different perspectives and provide students with holistic learning experiences. For example, the objective of learning and exchange activities in the Mainland is to provide opportunities for students to understand the national situation through first-hand experience in four dimensions, namely, natural resources, humanities, history and contemporary development.

     Participating schools will usually conduct reflection and sharing sessions during and after the activities. Some will also organise project learning to enable students to share experience, reflect on and consolidate what they have learnt. Schools are required to submit reports to the EDB within one month after the activities, setting out the learning requirements and performance of students, what have been gained by students, and ways to extend and promote the outcomes and experiences of these activities within and outside the schools. The EDB will study the information, which can provide reference for reviewing the activities and for planning more systematically Mainland exchange activities that are better integrated with the school curriculum. These activities have positive effects on students' national identity.

(c) and (d) The EDB's expenditure on Mainland exchange activities, including subsidies for primary and secondary schools organising such activities, increased from $12 million in 2008-09 to $58 million (estimate) in 2011-12, with the number of participating students expected to increase from 10 340 to 42 700 over the same period.

(e) According to information provided by the Home Affairs Bureau, there is no specific fund established under the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) to sponsor national education activities. Despite that, the CPCE sponsors projects on national education through different channels. In the past five years, the amount of funds for these projects increased from $500,000 in 2007-08 to an estimate of $4.97 million in 2011-12.

     As regards the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund, its purpose is not to provide funding for national education programmes.  According to our record, it has not funded any such programme.

     The assistance programmes to be launched by the Community Care Fund in 2011-12 include setting up a school-based fund for a period of three years to subsidise primary and secondary students from low-income families participating in cross-boundary learning activities organised by schools so as to enhance their knowledge, expand their horizons and enrich their learning experiences. Cross-boundary learning activities covered by the school-based fund include those held in the Mainland. Such activities can enhance students' understanding of the motherland, and strengthen their national identity. The Community Care Fund has reserved $164.4 million for the operation of the school-based fund in 2011-12.

Ends/Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:01


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