Let Hong Kong pupils listen to mainland official’s speech on the Basic Law

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 November, 2017, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 November, 2017, 11:27pm

The Education Bureau has invited schools to play the live broadcast of the speech on the Basic Law next week by Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei, to deepen students’ understanding of the mini-constitution, and some people are quick to see this in a negative light.

Whenever anything related to national education is mentioned, some critics go on the offensive. However, in countries all over the world, national education is a compulsory part of the school curriculum and serves the purpose of instilling a sense of national identity in students. Hong Kong is part of China, so it follows that pupils should learn more about their home country, where our traditions, culture, systems and uniqueness are formed and passed down through generations.

We ought to have faith in the bureau, which is comprised of professionals who know the education system inside out; they would take into account the needs of different stakeholders before they launched any national education course, ensuring that it was beneficial to the overall well-being of students.

As for broadcasting a speech on the Basic Law live to secondary school students, I don’t see any harm in doing that from an educational standpoint. While students may not have ample knowledge of the Basic Law, the speech might get them more interested in the subject and lead to them learning more about our mini-constitution. Concerns often arise from ignorance and lack of understanding of a subject, so absorbing a little more knowledge about the constitution may go a long way towards starting a healthy discussion on national identity and citizens’ responsibility.

Some people say broadcasting the speech amounts to indoctrination of students, which I think is totally unfounded. In this digital age, information flows freely on the internet in Hong Kong society and students are known to have developed critical thinking skills, thanks in no small part to the new senior secondary curriculum.

Tech-savvy millennials are adept at accessing information, reflecting on their learning experiences and discussing with peers on a range of issues.

They may not readily accept ideas spoon-fed to them, so to claim that the 45-minute speech would brainwash them with ideology is a weak argument.

If brainwashing worked, teachers would not be having such a hard time asking students to revise material for exams. It’s unnecessary to be overly worried about the broadcast.

Jason Tang, Tin Shui Wai