New approach promotes critical thinking
I REFER to your report headlined, 'School children to be taught to love China' (South China Morning Post, December 19) and wish to offer the following clarifications.
After nine months' deliberation, the Working Group appointed to review the current civic education guidelines (1985) has recommended a new approach to the teaching of civic education of our schools.
Under this new approach, emphasis would be laid on promoting in our students their critical thinking.
In handling a topic on civic education, school teachers would be advised to refrain from giving authoritative legitimacy to any one particular view.
Rather, they should present as many different views as there are and assist students to discover and evaluate their own values through reflection.
Consistent with this new approach, it is proposed that the subject of patriotism should be treated first as a concept and second in the context of Chinese citizenship.
The focus of the former would be an academic understanding of patriotism as an element of national spirit in any one country; and that of the latter would enable students to understand what Chinese citizenship means for those living in mainland China.
The Working Group will be publishing the revised guidelines for 21/2 months public consultation tomorrow. We shall be sending copies of the guidelines to organisations which have expressed an interest in or requested a copy of this document. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) has previously expressed an interest in the subject and will thus be sent a copy of the guidelines.
Any other organisation which wishes to obtain a copy is welcome to do so by writing to the Secretary of the Working Group on the Review of the Guidelines on Civic Education, at the following address - The Secretary, Working Group on the Review of the Guidelines on Civic Education, c/o Education Department, 13/F Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
T.F. KWAN Chairman Working Group on the Review of the Guidelines on Civic Education