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National education in Hong Kong

New compulsory Chinese history lessons will not ignore Hong Kong’s role in China’s past

Revised curriculum for secondary pupils will cover culture and technological developments, education chief says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 11:25pm

New compulsory Chinese history lessons in Hong Kong secondary schools will cover aspects of cultural history and technology, and the city’s role in China’s past, the education chief revealed as he announced a second public consultation next week on the revised curriculum.

According to the Education Bureau’s updated curriculum on Chinese history as a stand-alone, compulsory subject, lessons will strike a balance between contemporary and ancient history and cover more aspects of China’s development in culture and technology. It will also add topics relating to Hong Kong’s history.

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Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said a second stage of public consultation would begin on Monday for teachers and schools to give feedback on the revised curriculum before the subject is rolled out in the next academic year.

“Current Chinese history lessons tend to focus more on ancient history and on the changes in the different dynasties that ruled ancient China. The new curriculum will add more weight to China’s development in culture and technology, as well as Hong Kong’s role in China’s history,” Yeung said on a radio programme on Saturday.

Chinese history is currently taught in all 475 secondary schools at junior levels but not always as an independent subject. According to the government, 90 per cent of the schools offer it in this manner, while others have combined it with world history.

“We do not believe there will be any problems with implementing it next year since most of the schools are already doing so,” Yeung said.

“For the remaining 10 per cent, we will talk to them individually on how they can slowly switch to incorporating it as an independent subject in the long term.”

Pupils will have to take Chinese history lessons twice a week, and each year’s curriculum will fit into 50 lessons a year.

The push to make the subject compulsory is in line with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s youth policies, which the city leader has said are directed at nurturing citizens who are “socially responsible” and “equipped with a sense of national identity”.

The move sparked concerns that the policy would be the first of many more subtle, roundabout ways to revive national education, despite the government saying it did not feel the need to push for a separate subject on the topic.

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