A recent survey revealed that civil education is lacking in Hong Kong. People tend to wrongly associate civil-mindedness with cleanliness. Last September, the Study Group of the Concern on Youth Development interviewed 270 Tai Po primary students aged between eight and 12 about their views on public manners. Seventy-eight per cent of the respondents regarded themselves as civil-minded. They thought that spitting and smoking in non-smoking areas were the most uncivilised forms of behaviour. The majority of students thought that observing personal hygiene in public would make them civil-minded citizens. More than 80 per cent said maintaining a clean and hygienic environment was essential for building a civil-minded society. They attached less importance to other civil manners, such as courtesy and being considerate to others. 'After the Sars and bird flu crises, people have become more aware of personal hygiene. However, many still show poor manners in public,' said Edward Lee Chi-shing, chairman of the concern group and member of the Tai Po District Council. 'Locals might not spit or litter in public, but they talk loudly on their mobiles and do not give up their seats to the needy on public transport.' More than 40 per cent of the primary students said they would not do anything if they saw people commit misdemeanours in public. Mr Lee blamed their indifference to poor manners on the failure of their parents to serve as role models. 'Most adults remain quiet when they see people with poor manners. If their parents fail to take action against inconsiderate people, it'll be likely for the children to do the same,' said Mr Lee. The respondents also said the government did not do enough to boost moral and civil education in schools, with 70 per cent saying they did not receive enough civil education at school. 'Students should be taught public manners from a young age. The government should strengthen the civil education curriculum. Only through this can our children become responsible, considerate and helpful future leaders,' said Mr Lee.