Top scorers question objectivity of national curriculum
High-fliers in the new Diploma of Secondary Education school examinations say more discussion is needed before introducing the national education curriculum, which they say could brainwash students about the mainland.
Queen's College's Lau Ming-him, who scored the top-ranked 5** grade in all seven subjects he sat, said more teachers and professionals should be consulted before the controversial programme went ahead.
'National education can surely raise students' awareness of their country. But the existing curriculum is not comprehensive enough,' the 18-year-old said.
National Education will be compulsory at primary level in 2015 and secondary level the following year, but the government is urging primary schools to start this year and secondary schools next year.
Lau said that he was opposed to any kind of brainwashing education, and would actively consider taking part in a rally organised by Scholarism, a group of secondary school pupils opposed to national education, on July 29.
Another Queen's College high-flyer, Ma Ho-yin, said the details and teaching materials for the subject were not yet ready.
'The subject should only be introduced when a consensus is reached among different parties in society,' said Ma, also a seven 5** scorer.
David Lam Tsang-lung, from La Salle College, said the national education programme would brainwash students.
'The proposed syllabus will likely play up the merits of [mainland] China, but neglect the ruling party's shortcomings,' said the student, who scored six 5**s.
'I'm afraid it will not offer students impartial values.'
Leung Ka-chun, from Pui Ching Middle School, who also scored 5** in six subjects, disagreed. Leung says there would be no brainwashing provided students thought as they were taught to do in such subjects as liberal studies.
Wong Sze-man, a student from the left-wing Chiu Chow Association Secondary School who achieved 5* in five subjects, said the subject would overlap with what was taught in liberal studies and history.
She refused to comment on whether or not the controversial subject should be put into practice or how.
Her school frequently sponsors its students to visit places on the mainland, such as Beijing and Sichuan , where they visited areas devastated by the 2008 earthquake.
Teresa Kwok Fong-yan from St Mary's Canossian College, the only female pupil to score seven 5**s, said the aim of making people understand their mother country was feasible but she did not think it needed to be a separate subject.
'National education can be incorporated into other subjects but the content should be objective,' said Kwok, who said she would join the July 29 protest.
Reporters Dennis Chong, Wong Yat-hei, Jennifer Cheng, Helen Yu, Thomas Chan, Chris Lau, Joyee Chan, Jolie Ho, Lilly Zhang, Michael Au, Emily Ting and Elaine Leung
Photographers Nora Tam, K.Y. Cheng, Felix Wong and May Tse