Tension arising from the national education fiasco has eased further after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying made yet another concession. On Monday, he announced that guidelines on the controversial curriculum would be formally shelved. The decision has effectively rendered the programme an empty shell, although schools can still launch it on their own if they wish. That Leung has swiftly accepted the recommendations put forward by an advisory panel is a welcome step. It is good to see that the climbdown also appears to be acceptable to the groups leading the fight. No doubt there are still people who insist the subject be withdrawn. They see shelving or invalidating the guideline as not going far enough. They are worried that the framework can be dusted off from the shelf for use again in future. Such concerns are not without validity. But whatever word is used, the perceived threat of students being brainwashed with Communist ideology under a compulsory curriculum has been reduced. Schools are no longer compelled to teach the subject; even for those who do so voluntarily, there will be no official guidelines to follow. Leung has already pledged not to push it during his term. One may, therefore, argue whether there is any real difference in the outcome. That does not mean the saga has come to an end, however. The community has been split and public confidence undermined. Whether Leung can rebuild mutual trust and bridge the divide remains to be seen. The new Legco is to debate the controversy this week. The government's handling is likely to draw criticism from across the political spectrum. The question of how to continue to monitor the subject in individual schools is also a matter of concern. The autonomy given to schools on when and how to go about it makes it even more difficult to assess the impact on our students. For those schools that continue with the subject, it is essential for them to choose the right material and fully consult parents. Some may be convinced that national education under Communist Party rule can only mean indoctrination and brainwashing. But the "one country, two systems" formula guarantees that Hong Kong can continue with its free-wheeling way of life. The strong public reaction shows any attempt to undermine our freedoms will not be accepted. Introducing national education remains the right step as long as different views are presented for students to make informed judgment.