The renaming of the controversial liberal studies subject at schools into “citizenship and social development” is more than a cosmetic change in a wider overhaul of an important topic that has sadly been too often politicised and misunderstood. The perception is further coloured by the growing emphasis on “one country” and national security. Ultimately, what matters is that our secondary students may continue to develop without losing the abilities and critical thinking skills expected of them. The new liberal studies is condensed from the previous six themes into just three, focusing on “one country, two systems” and national identity; the country since reform and opening-up; as well as the interconnectedness and interdependence of the contemporary world. Teaching hours are also reduced and exam results for university admission will only be graded as “attained” or not. Will revamping Hong Kong’s liberal studies end critical thinking among students? The need for students to better understand the country was well recognised before the imposition of the national security law, which makes it even more compelling with Article 10 requiring the government to promote national security education in schools and elsewhere. But the removal of globalisation and other themes has raised concerns as to whether the focus of students has become too narrow. Adding to the challenge is the need to prepare teachers for the new curriculum by September. If previous education reforms are anything to go by, teachers and schools are resistant to change, especially amid growing scepticism and social division. It takes more than a name change to put old disputes behind and move forward. Introduced in 2009 as part of an overhaul to minimise rote learning and enhance the application of knowledge and skills, liberal studies has been praised for making students more socially and politically aware. But it was also blamed by pro-Beijing lawmakers for “radicalising” youngsters, as reflected in the Occupy protests in 2014 and those against the extradition bill in 2019. Notwithstanding the latest moves, the goals remain the same. In addition to helping students become responsible citizens with a sense of national identity and global perspective, critical thinking and other abilities should be preserved.