National education

Beijing-friendly Macau sees no need for national education

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 September, 2012, 6:54pm

While the Hong Kong government has been keen to promote national education, Macau sees no need for it and has no plans to introduce the subject.

What's more, Macau people are content to recognise the central government and do not hanker for a colonial past, lawmakers and educators in the enclave say.

Macau's Education and Youth Affairs Bureau says schools have full discretion in the course outlines and textbooks they use. Moral and civic education, which may be the closest thing to national education, does not have to be implemented as an independent subject - schools do not receive subsidies for teaching it and are not obliged to use recommended textbooks.

Lawmaker Au Kam-san said Macau and the central government saw no pressing need to promote national education in the SAR.

"People here talked about 'loving the country and loving Macau' even before the handover," he said.

Au said Macau people generally were not nostalgic for the Portuguese legacy in the way that many Hongkongers reminisced about British rule. But he said Hongkongers were also more politically aware.

Dr Camoes Tam Chi-keung, assistant professor in humanities and arts at the Macau University of Science and Technology, said the education systems in the two places were completely different.

"Nearly 80 per cent of Macau's schools are Catholic or[run by] other Christian denominations, and do not promote patriotism in their curriculums," he said. "At pro-Beijing schools, national education elements are infused in all other subjects."

Daniel Lee Ion-kei, a secondary school teacher for 15 years, supports national education, saying people should know more about their own country, but the curriculum had to be unbiased.