A liberal look at public broadcasting
By Lilian Goh
Liberal studies is a wide-ranging subject which can enhance students' language and critical thinking skills and understanding of current affairs.
About 500 students and teachers from different schools attended a large-scale liberal studies lesson in the form of a role play last week.
The event, jointly organised by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and the Education and Manpower Bureau, was designed to show participants how interesting liberal studies - which will become one of the four core subjects in senior secondary schools from the 2009/10 academic year - can be. The other core subjects are Chinese, English and mathematics.
Student representatives from five secondary schools - St Teresa Secondary School, Heung To Secondary School, Methodist College, La Salle College, and Heep Yunn School - took part in a role-playing game to discuss one of the city's hot topics, the review of public service broadcasting.
Each school played the role of a different share-holder, such as RTHK directors, the lawmakers and the commercial broadcasting sector.
They were supported by real representatives from these different sectors, and met them beforehand to collect information.
By presenting the views of Citizens' Radio, Methodist College won the Best Role-Playing Award.
Veteran activist Tsang Kin-shing of Citizens' Radio praised the students for their understanding and points of view towards public service broadcasting.
Meanwhile, Heep Yunn School, representing a concern group on public service broadcasting, won the Best Expression Award.
The two schools also won the Best Performance Award.
Lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing was impressed by the students' performances. She reminded them to maintain their position throughout a discussion, and it that would be better to memorise arguments rather than reading them out stiffly with notes in their hands.
Ng Yan-yi, 18, from Methodist College, said it was a valuable learning opportunity. She found the subject very interesting.
'It's great to meet our peers from other schools and the guests who we are representing. The discussion helped us develop our critical thinking skills,' said the Form Six student.
To provide more materials for liberal studies, RTHK has set up a website, www.liberalstudies.tv, where students can discover the appeal of the subject.