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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31pm

National Education

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. 

NewsHong Kong
NATIONAL EDUCATION

First national education classes taught at Tai Kok Tsui primary school

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 2:48am
 

Four different-coloured hats were used to help pupils at a Tai Kok Tsui primary school grasp their first lessons in moral and national education yesterday while opponents of the controversial curriculum continued to demand that it be scrapped.

Fresh Fish Traders' School headmaster Leung Kee-cheong invited parents and journalists to sit in on the lessons as Primary Six pupils learned about the national flag and younger children were instructed on such moral issues as family roles and telling lies.

The school, serving mainly less-well-off children, will have seven lessons in the programme over the school year.

The school has not assigned teaching materials, and teachers have been given free rein to impart what they like within the curriculum's framework.

Media flocked to the only primary six classroom to observe how teacher Ken Sze Chi-king would tackle a lesson on the flag and flag-raising ceremonies.

Sze, who usually teaches Chinese and is co-ordinating the programme, used four hats to symbolise objective, critical, emotional and optimistic ways of thinking about any given topic - a technique derived from Edward de Bono's book Six Thinking Hats.

He first played a video of activists waving the national flag on one of the Diaoyu islands and another of a man burning the flag.

This was followed by video of a flag-raising ceremony in Golden Bauhinia Square and the same ceremony after the National Day ferry disaster in which the flag flew at half mast.

He then asked the pupils to put on one of the coloured hats and try to use the mode of thinking it represented to compare the different contexts in which the flag appeared.

"I wanted to show the pupils that the flag itself is neutral, but it is the context that it is in that gives it meaning," he said.

"Everything has hard facts, but why do we add meanings to it? I want them to have more than one way of looking at an issue, which includes being critical and emotional."

Opponents have condemned the subject as "brainwashing" because it avoids controversial and negative topics about the mainland.

But during the class, Sze brought up the suspicious death of activist Li Wangyang in June and the poisoned milk powder scandal that rocked the mainland in 2008.

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shouken
Is it about the June 4th incident again? The next day, I and my classmates at Yucai Middle School in Shekou, Shenzhen, and most of the faculty wore black arm bands and stood on the playground mourning those gunned down in Beijing, flag at half mast. I was 18.
Now, at 42 and 6 years in the US and 1 in Osaka, I come to also question why the students must occupy the Square some 50 days. Their voice has been heard, their points made. If their attention-hungry student leaders had been less extremist and more amenable to compromise, the divided CPC leadership might finally have listened to Zhao Ziyang, and bloodshed would be avoided. I now sympathize with (and blame) both the students AND the government. Just like in a painful divorce: No party is completely innocent or culpable, both a victim and a victimizer.
There are, alas, no such thing as mere facts. Mere facts in themselves mean nothing. It is us that confer meaning and impose interpretations on them. The Tankman was not run down by the tanks, and the PLA exercised high restraint.
whymak
" Most of us have seen the photo of the lone young man standing firm in front of a column of tanks trying to stop them rolling onto TAM. It is up to the beholder to choose what he/she would like to think or believe."
We all saw with our own eyes that the tank zigzagged around the demonstrator but not ran him down.
Are you going to submit a videotape of that tank rolling toward Tian An Men? We all look forward to seeing it.
Hundreds died on that tragic day 6/4. Some soldiers were murdered by the rioters. Absolutely, positively no killing occurred at Tiananmen Square. Thousands of lies by people like you don't make them a fact.
spunkyjj
jpinst has it spot on when he says "Teaching emotions is a foolish concept." Give the students the hard facts through history classes and let them have their own emotions.
xiaoblueleaf
Most of us have seen the photo of the lone young man standing firm in front of a column of tanks trying to stop them rolling onto TAM. It is up to the beholder to choose what he/she would like to think or believe. This is the essence of education.
whymak
"... show images of young students waving the national flag in Beijing before they were gunned down? "
Who else shares the same delusion as this inmate from Marquis de Sade's Insane Asylum?
lucifer
This is a slippery slop that has no place in classrooms. Teaching emotions is a foolish concept. An objective course on Hong Kong and Chinese history should be completely and totally sufficiency. I question wether the teacher will show images of young students waving the national flag in Beijing before they were gunned down?

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