Liberal Studies | South China Morning Post
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Liberal Studies

Roots of liberal studies

A liberal studies lesson taught by Jacob Hui Shing-yan at Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School. Photo: Edward Wong

The liberal studies exam in this year's Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination, under way until early next month, contained the previously taboo topic of the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

Monday, 29 April, 2013, 9:43am

Hong Kong's liberal studies exams are for probing minds

Liberal studies can stimulate deeper and less formulaic inquiry among youngsters. Photo: Dickson Lee

Since Hong Kong introduced liberal studies in secondary school curriculums, quite a few students have been asking to interview journalists from this newspaper about the most topical issues in the news today. Some questions are naïve, but more often they are intelligent and probing. If such anecdotal evidence is any guide, the experiment by the education authorities, despite many hiccups and much criticism, has succeeded in stimulating deeper and less formulaic inquiry among youngsters.

17 Apr 2013 - 3:25am

Liberal studies teachers must beware danger of tying grades to politics

Foreign domestic workers protesting for the right of abode at the Court of Final Appeal. Photo: Sam Tsang

Last week, a group of high school students in New York state were given a writing assignment to argue why Jews are evil. Their five-paragraph essay must demonstrate their ability to "think like a Nazi" using evidence from the Third Reich government propaganda. It was an exercise meant to link English class with a history lesson on the Holocaust; instead, it caused an uproar among parents, educators and the Jewish community.

17 Apr 2013 - 5:39am 1 comment

Politics rears head in HKDSE exam

The candlelight vigil in Victoria Park, Hong Kong, commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the June 4 pro-democracy crackdown in Tiananmen Square. Photo: AFP

Candidates faced a political challenge in the latest liberal studies exams, when they were asked to give their views on the impact of filibuster campaigns in the Legislative Council and the reasons for Hongkongers to fight for democracy in China.

11 Apr 2013 - 5:47am 2 comments

Adapting to challenges of a changing world

Illustration: Corbis

In a rapidly changing world, we have to prepare ourselves for challenges that will confront us every day. This requires a liberally educated citizenry. To indicate the importance of liberal education to a democratic society, let me quote David Kearns, former CEO of Xerox Corporation.

2 Dec 2012 - 3:53pm

Hong Kong's education fails the language test

Photo of Eddie Ng Hak-kim, Secretary for Eucation, in Legco Chamber in Hong Kong on Oct. 17, 2012. Photo: SCMP

The problems facing Hong Kong pupils are closely tied to the education and social environment in which they have been brought up. For decades, a spoon-fed culture and oppressive examination system are said to have made them more adapted to rote learning than critical thinking.

12 Nov 2012 - 2:28pm 5 comments

Learning Curve: Liberal Studies

Students at the Chinese International School. Exchanges between local and international school students may broaden thinking. Photo: Edward Wong

There has been a lot of debate about the roll-out of Liberal Studies in the local education curriculum. But many teachers in international schools, myself included, have been clueless about its aims, goals and content.

So I was pleasantly surprised at how "international" and how relevant it is to us as Hong Kong residents, educators and parents.

14 Oct 2012 - 11:17am