All public primary schools will start teaching a controversial course in moral and national education in 2015. Public secondary schools will follow in 2016.
The Education Bureau said the curriculum has been modified greatly in response to concerns about potential indoctrination.
The head of a government-appointed taskforce that drafted the syllabus, Professor Lee Chack-fan (pictured), said they had modified it in response to public demand. 'There won't be one-sided praise [about the mainland],' Lee said.
The bureau announced its revised curriculum guide on April 30 after a four-month consultation.
Originally, the subject would have been introduced in primary schools this September and in secondary schools in 2013.
The revised curriculum will focus on developing critical thinking skills by students, the bureau said.
The subject will take up no more than 5 per cent of class time. There will be no public exams in it.
The bureau's principal assistant secretary Dr Cheung Kwok-wah said political events such as the Cultural Revolution or the Tiananmen incident were not listed on the material for the course.
The reason is to give teachers flexibility in choosing what subjects to teach and discuss in class. The bureau added it would upload suggested classroom materials online for teachers.
But Dr Leung Yan-wing, an associate professor at the Institute of Education, said officials should not steer clear of political discussions. 'If you need to instil a sense of belonging among Hongkongers, you cannot avoid talking about politics,' he said.
Cheung said the bureau had briefed chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying before making its announcement. Cheung said Leung did not show any opposition to the revised curriculum.