HKDSE liberal studies makes students more rational and inclusive, research proves it
Since liberal studies became one of the core subjects for senior secondary education, the discussion on the course has been never-ending. It appears that our “blue ribbon” supporters do not like the subject very much. On their pro-Beijing pages, they complain that immature students have become less patriotic because of the discussion on sensitive topics in the subject.
Therefore, Beijing supporters, including Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, have welcomed the recent proposal to downgrade liberal studies to an elective subject for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exam.
Other correspondents and I have shown why liberal studies is necessary, it enhances critical thinking and awareness of current issues among our students. I previously wrote in to the Post to explain why teachers cannot brainwash pupils by using liberal studies as a propaganda tool. This time, I would like to share some academic research to examine the claim of “blue ribbon” supporters.
I refer to a 2016 study by Chinese University researchers Yuen Kwan-yee and Professor Stephen Chiu Wing-kai regarding the impact of liberal studies on students.
The researchers, after interviewing 2,896 Form Five students from 25 schools, found that the subject’s influence on pupils’ sense of national identity was insignificant. The figures also revealed that students who love the subject show greater rationality and inclusiveness than those who don’t like the course.
Pro-Beijing politicians opposed to liberal studies would be badly embarrassed if they read Yuen and Chiu’s text. The reality is that liberal studies cannot be used to fool students. Absurd actions to achieve “ignorance is power” in schools cannot promote patriotism at all.
Henry Wong, Kennedy Town