image

Hong Kong schools

Hong Kong youth now more informed and socially aware because of liberal studies 

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 May, 2018, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 May, 2018, 4:07pm

I refer to the article, “Arguments over liberal studies refuse to die down as educators call for it to be made elective” (May 6). I do not support the proposal to downgrade the compulsory liberal studies subject in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams.

To begin with, liberal studies can train pupils to think critically and from different perspectives. The subject was designed to encourage them to think critically about current affairs, rather than focus on rote-learning, especially as students in Hong Kong tend to lack the capacity for critical thinking because of the focus on spoon-feeding in our education system. They can recite the contents of the exam syllabus but most fail to formulate their own ideas about that knowledge.

Further, studying liberal studies is one way to make youngsters more aware of the news and current affairs. If liberal studies is no longer a compulsory subject, pupils may not have the incentive to know more about what is happening around them in society. 

Six in 10 teachers want liberal studies to remain as is

As citizens of Hong Kong, we need to fulfil our responsibility to society, and should at least be aware of its current concerns and direction. 

But pro-establishment politicians in recent times have suggested that liberal studies allows teachers to communicate their own political biases to pupils, resulting in the youngsters being “too critical” of the local or central government, and giving rise to political movements such as the Occupy protests in 2014. 

Liberal studies lesson yet to be learned

Nevertheless, I appreciate how the students had the courage to stand up for their political standpoints. I think the main reason that they had that courage was that the compulsory liberal studies subject enhanced their critical thinking ability. 

Therefore, for the sake of creating responsible and well-informed citizens, the compulsory subject should not be made just a pass-or-fail optional one.

Yolanda Tso, Kwai Chung