National education curriculum guide will help students think independently
I refer to the letters from Kellia Wan ('Too young for national education', August 3) and Tse To-yap ('What is the real purpose of course?' August 3). I would like to offer your readers more information on the moral and national education curriculum guide (www.edb.gov.hk/MNECG-e).
The Education Bureau released the refined curriculum guide in 2012 after a four-month public consultation in 2011 to gauge the views of different stakeholders. More than 1,000 submissions were received through various channels including large-scale consultation sessions, questionnaires to schools, and opinions expressed through e-mails, faxes and letters.
The clear objective of the moral and national education curriculum guide is to cultivate students' capacity to distinguish right from wrong and to think independently.
This subject enables students to acquire desirable personal, moral and national qualities through classroom learning, as well as practices in their daily life.
Schools are not obliged to fully implement the moral and national education subject this September. There is a three-year 'initiation period' (2012/13 to 2014/15 and 2013/14 to 2015/16 for primary and secondary schools respectively) for schools to introduce the subject in a progressive manner, taking into account the vision and mission laid down by their school sponsoring bodies, and the readiness of the school and their teachers.
Schools may exercise their discretion and professional judgment in deciding the learning and teaching resources. There are no mandatory learning and teaching resources imposed by the government. Indeed, more than 80 per cent of the subject content is on moral education, while the part on contemporary development under dispute and fear of possible 'brainwashing' accounts for about 3 per cent. Teachers should not avoid discussion of controversial issues.
We fully understand the public's concern and will adopt a pragmatic approach in gauging the public's views to dispel any anxiety. We will set up a committee with wide participation to advise the bureau on the introduction of this subject during the three-year initiation period.
I would like to emphasise that the government is committed to safeguarding core values such as citizens' rights, freedom and democracy and to accommodating different viewpoints and opinions. This stance will be fully realised when implementing the moral and national education subject in schools.
K.W. Cheung, for secretary for education