The Hong Kong government has sought since 2007 to introduce "national education" courses into primary and secondary school curriculum, aimed at strengthening students' "national identity awareness" and nurturing patriotism towards China. The programme has met with increasing public opposition in recent years, with many in Hong Kong seeing it as a brainwashing attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to suppress dissent.
Primary schools shun national education lessons, data reveals
Primary schools have overwhelmingly opted for civil and moral lessons over controversial national education in the new academic year, according to Education Bureau data.
Those listing only civic and moral education as their key task outnumber primary schools opting for just national education by almost 13 times, revealed a school profiles issued by the bureau in April.
In Sha Tin there was a greater tendency to incorporate national education in their teaching aims.
Of the 17 schools there, 11 planned to merge the national curriculum into the existing civic and moral education subject.
The profiles of the 519 primary schools in the city showed 292 schools listed only civic and moral education under their key tasks in the 2012/13 school year, while 23 named only national education. Some schools listed both or neither of the topics.
Just four schools planned to establish national education as a separate subject.
A spokeswoman for the bureau said the profiles reflected the schools' situation in April and any updates would be made online.
Meanwhile, a survey by Education Convergency found two-thirds of teaching staff said their schools had not yet decided when to introduce the curriculum.
Because of the lack of consensus, the group suggested a one-year freeze on the introduction of national education to allow for further discussion.
Over the past month, the survey interviewed 203 principals and teachers from 60 primary and secondary schools, and 83 per cent said they agreed with teaching moral and national education.