National education in Hong Kong

Thousands of university students boycott classes against national education

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Thousands of tertiary students took part in a citywide class boycott on Tuesday afternoon to oppose the national education curriculum in primary and secondary schools.

Dressed in black, the students staged a sit-in that filled the “Million Boulevard” at the centre of the Chinese University in Sha Tin. Many put up umbrellas to shield themselves against the sunlight.

The Federation of Students, an alliance of university student unions and organisers of the boycott, said 5,000 students from 10 tertiary institutions took part.

The protesting students said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s concessions on the controversial subject were not good enough.

They demanded that the government remove the curriculum from the lower schools altogether.

Tuesday’s demonstration came three days after Leung made a dramatic U-turn in response to week-long massive protests. He announced the scrapping of a three-year deadline for implementation and giving schools discretion to choose whether to teach the subject.

The government had previously urged schools to start introducing the subject this year before it was made a compulsory course in primary schools 2016 and secondary in 2017.

Officials say the subject will engender national pride but critics fear it could be used to indoctrinate young people with blind fervour towards the mainland.