A new subject of Civic Education will be introduced in secondary schools next academic year, the Government has announced. The syllabus will cover six areas: family, neighbouring community, regional community, national community, international community and citizenship and civil society. Steven Lee Man-shum, principal inspector at the Education Department, told Young Post the subject was intended for students from Forms One to Three. Topics would progress in difficulty from the student's immediate environment through to the wider world. He said the syllabus was designed to help students understand the characteristics of Hong Kong society and the importance of democracy, liberty, equality, human rights and the rule of law. They would be taught to employ these concepts in their daily lives. 'The subject will also explore how the students, as individuals, relate to their families and the world around them,' Mr Lee added. The course was one of the recommendations contained in the department's 1996 Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools. Mr Lee said the emphasis in the classroom would be on applied knowledge rather than traditional examinations. In the past, primary and secondary schools have introduced civic education by means of extra-curricular activities. A grant of $500 per class per annum is being offered to schools. To qualify for the new grant, they must adopt either a 'specific or integrated-subject approach' to the promotion of civic education from Forms One to Three.