THE importance of freedom, equality, human rights and the rule of law should be taught in civic education classes in schools, an Education Department working party said yesterday. The Education Department's ad hoc group reviewing the 10-year-old guidelines on civic education said the aims should include understanding the characteristics of Hong Kong. Classes should be taught to analyse social and political problems objectively, it added. One member of the group, Tang Yiu-nam, said: 'We think civic education over the last 10 years has been unsuccessful, if not a total failure.' Another member, Lee Wing-on, said the present aims concentrated on the operation of social and district organisations to illustrate the principles of a democratic society. But they did not highlight concepts such as freedom and human rights, stating simply that young people should develop the skills to enable them to comment on social problems.