Liberal studies is indispensable, but does not have to be compulsory in the HKDSE
I refer to your editorial “Review of liberal studies is required” (May 9). Liberal studies has always been a controversial subject due to its curriculum and unclear marking scheme. Recently, the government has been considering making changes to the subject (“Arguments over liberal studies refuse to die down as educators call for controversial Hong Kong school subject to be made elective”, May 6).
I agree that the grading for liberal studies should be changed from a score of 1-5** to “pass or fail”. I also support having students study the subject at school but not take an examination for it at the Hong Kong Diploma for Secondary Education (DSE). However, I don’t think the subject should be eliminated altogether.
Liberal studies helps hone students’ critical thinking skills, logical faculties and their ability to comment on social issues from different perspectives. It encourages students to gain an in-depth understanding of current affairs and increases political participation. Therefore, liberal studies is a unique and indispensable subject.
However, the current marking scheme is confusing, it is unclear on what basis students score high marks and it is nearly impossible to revise for the exam in the subject. The result is that some unlucky students might get filtered out of the university admission process due to their poor performance in liberal studies.
In addition, making liberal studies a non-graded subject or doing away with the exam can also nurture talent for the future. As liberal studies is now a core subject in the DSE, students may choose not to study an elective because they are afraid they cannot handle too many subjects. If students chose more electives, they would have a more diverse development.
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong