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EDB's statement on Moral and National Education subject

     A spokesman for the Education Bureau (EDB) said today (September 10) that immediate actions would be taken to implement the change of policy announced by the Chief Executive last Saturday on the Moral and National Education (MNE) subject.

     Under the new policy, school-sponsoring bodies and schools can exercise their discretion to decide whether to implement the MNE subject on the basis of their professional judgment, whether the subject should be introduced as an independent subject and, if so, determine the modes and schedule for its implementation. In other words, under the new policy, the so-called "deadline" for implementing the subject in three years does not exist.

Implementing the New Policy

     Firstly, with immediate effect, the EDB will withdraw the Circular Memorandum No. 73/2012 issued to all primary, secondary and special schools on May 15 this year, thus doing away with the "deadline" for implementing the subject after the three-year "initiation period". Details on the disbursement arrangements of the "Moral and National Education Subject Support Grant" stipulated in the circular will remain unchanged. The EDB will issue a revised Circular Memorandum to schools as soon as possible.

     As the Chief Executive had pointed out that the Government would be willing to review parts of the Curriculum Guide of the MNE subject for further amendments, the Secretary for Education has requested the Curriculum Development Council (CDC), chaired by Professor Kenneth Young, to hold discussion as soon as possible, and to review critically the controversial parts of the Curriculum Guide.  These include the community's concern on the assessment aspects of "Affective dimension", views on curriculum planning, as well as whether the related content could be included in other subjects such as Chinese History, should schools decide not to implement it as an independent subject.

     The Government hopes that the CDC would complete its review as soon as possible and makes recommendations to the EDB on the revision of the Curriculum Guide. The Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education subject, chaired by Ms Anna Wu, would also widely consult the community and make suggestions on the Guide to the CDC.

     Hence, the EDB will take out immediately the parts of the Curriculum Guide on contemporary China and related assessment. Considering that the relevant parts only constitute a small portion of the Guide and that the EDB has made it clear that the part on moral education can be implemented first, schools already implementing or planning to implement the subject will not be affected.

     Regarding Ms Wu's earlier request for additional Government resources to facilitate more organisations to widely participate in developing teaching materials, the EDB is able to allocate the necessary resources from the education budget if formal request is received from the Committee.

     The spokesman reiterates that the implementation of the subject is definitely not a political mission. The Chief Executive has clearly undertaken to uphold the principles of leaving education matters to the education sector, and respecting schools' professional autonomy, and that during this term, the Government would not impose any so-called "deadline" for implementing the subject.

     In response to the request of "withdrawing" the subject, the spokesman stresses that as Hong Kong is a pluralistic society, neither the Government nor any other person should or could intervene if schools have plans to implement the subject. Accordingly, there is no question of "withdrawing" the subject.

     There are calls in the community recently for different groups to rebuild mutual trust and respect with a view to fostering communication and cooperation. The spokesman hopes that the controversy will be resolved peacefully, rationally and with mutual respect. The Government, by announcing and implementing the policy amendments, is demonstrating its commitment to creating the best environment for rational communication.

Ends/Monday, September 10, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:49


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