Pro-Beijing teaching kit a problem for Exco man
Tanna Chong and Johnny Tam
As thousands of parents and students flocked to Victoria Park to protest against national education, more members of Leung Chun-ying's top advisory body spoke out against the course material's content.
As cracks in the Executive Council widened over whether to delay the introduction of the subject, members agreed only on one issue - that the course material published by a pro-Beijing organisation was a problem.
Exco member Cheung Chi-kong said the so-called Beijing consensus - advanced by the National Education Services Centre and criticised for whitewashing the history of the People's Republic of China - was unsuitable for use in primary and secondary education.
'The Beijing consensus is too complicated to be discussed in primary and secondary schools. It is without a clear definition as well,' said Cheung. 'These materials can be put aside if they are seen as problematic by teachers and parents.'
Fellow member Bernard Chan, who has established a private school for his two sons, said: 'I agree materials should not be one-sided. I will teach my kids about the June 4 [Tiananmen crackdown in 1989] when implementing national education in our school, too.'
However, Cheung and Chan both insisted the three-year introductory period was ample time for schools to fine-tune the curriculum, which is intended to instil national pride.
'We should allow the schools which have prepared well to roll out the course [in September],' said Cheung shortly before the march commenced.
In contrast, Exco's Anna Wu Hung-yuk said last week that the timetable for national education's implementation could be 'relaxed a little bit'.
But Chan said yesterday that a delay would not soothe opposition. 'The opposition just does not trust the Communist Party. But time is needed anyway for schools to try and test the curriculum,' he said.
In response to the criticism, National Education Services Centre president Yeung Yiu-chung said: 'It is just their viewpoint and I don't mind. We have not forced the government to use it.'