DAB pushes patriotic line

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 August, 2004, 12:00am

The education platforms of most candidates and parties are similar in their pledges to raise students' language skills, reduce class sizes, enhance diversity and boost post-secondary education.

Differences are few and far from controversial. For example, the Liberal Party says the government should allow schools to admit foreign students at all levels, while the Democratic Party urges the government to help new immigrants and students from ethnic minorities overcome language barriers and attend mainstream schools. These are proposals that are hardly likely to divide the community.

What may be controversial is the DAB's call for strengthening patriotic education. Most Hongkongers say they are patriotic, but differ sharply over what patriotism is and how it should be cultivated.

The DAB says all government and aided schools should be required to display the national flag, hold a flag-raising ceremony and sing the national anthem on National Day and other important occasions.

That is the rule in many countries, but one the government has refrained from adopting as some feel it would amount to a forced patriotism.