Students of today's liberal studies will be tomorrow's world citizens

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 12:00am

Liberal studies, a controversial issue that has been the subject of much discussion in recent years, will become one of four core subjects under the new senior secondary curriculum in the next school year.

I would like to add my thoughts from the perspective of a frontline teacher and school administrator of liberal studies.

Liberal studies, which has been a public examination subject at the advanced supplementary level since the early 1990s in Hong Kong, is not a discipline starting from scratch.

The role of liberal studies has been highly commended by students and teachers. The subject broadens the horizons and skills of secondary students, increasing their personal and social awareness and engendering critical awareness in society.

Other relevant school practices, including cross-curricular collaboration, have enriched teachers' knowledge about how to implement liberal studies in the new senior secondary curriculum.

Regarding the reliability of the assessment, the acceptance of the examination results of advanced supplementary liberal studies is no different to other subjects in university admissions.

To take forward the curriculum changes under liberal studies, it is imperative to understand and be committed to the rationale behind it.

Liberal studies provides opportunities for students to explore issues relevant to the human condition in a wide range of contexts. It enables students to make connections among different disciplines and examine issues from a variety of perspectives. The inclusion of teachers from various academic fields in the liberal studies panel is thus vital, in view of the nature of the subject.

The curriculum - comprising self- and personal development, society and culture, and science, technology and the environment - covers the human condition and the world.

With our concerted efforts, liberal studies teachers can play a part in nurturing students to become informed, rational and responsible citizens of the local, national and global community.

Chow Chi-leong, head of liberal studies, St Stephen's Girls' College