Hong Kong group says its civic education scheme will nurture 'critical patriots'

Group proposes 'non-indoctrinating' lesson plans focused on democracy and rights in city

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 4:13am

Pro-democracy scholars have designed their own civic-education guidelines aimed at turning students into "critical patriots".

The "non-indoctrinating" guidelines have been unveiled two months after the government scrapped its own guidelines for the curriculum after widespread protests and accusations of brainwashing.

"Our paper stresses that every student should enjoy self-determination, as far as identity-recognition is concerned," said Dr Leung Yan-wing, convener of the editing committee for A Civil Guideline on Civic Education.

"Students should be critical patriots, after seeing the full picture of their country," said Leung, associate director of the Centre for Governance and Citizenship at the Institute of Education.

The group also argues that schools need a civic mission, saying the current curriculum format does not place enough emphasis on political education.

"National education is one part of civic education; students should be taught more about Hong Kong's core values, including the pursuit of democracy, human rights and freedoms," co-convener Cheung Yui-fai said.

Cheung, education research director of the Professional Teachers' Union, said that since scrapping its own guidelines, the government had unsatisfactorily allowed schools to adopt whatever guidelines they thought fit.

He urged education officials to attend workshops to be held by the group to gather and exchange views in preparation of new guidelines for schools' reference.

The group will also brief school-sponsoring bodies, to seek their support in adoption of its proposals.

Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said the next step for the group, after half a year of consultation, was to prepare a proposal telling teachers how to conduct their lessons.