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National education in Hong Kong

‘No political considerations’ behind Chinese history curriculum change, Hong Kong education chief says

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung says the point is to teach about city’s development in the context of the country’s history

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 May, 2018, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 May, 2018, 11:37pm

There were no political considerations behind a Chinese history curriculum change for secondary schools that would do away with separate sections on the city’s past, Hong Kong’s education minister said on Saturday.

Speaking on a radio programme, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the decision was made after feedback from teachers.

“There is absolutely no political consideration in it. Our current curriculum, which was launched in 1997, does not mention Hong Kong development,” he said, responding to accusations that the government aimed to quash thoughts of independence among young people amid a tide of separatism in recent years.

No separate sections on Hong Kong for new history curriculum, education authority says

“It is precisely because we think that we need to mention the development of Hong Kong in the context of the history of China that we proposed the curriculum reform, which is an improved one.

“It is not about scrapping the Hong Kong section in the curriculum. It is a teaching methodology that sets Hong Kong’s development against the backdrop of the country’s history,” Yeung said, adding that this would induce students’ interest in learning Chinese history.

We need to mention the development of Hong Kong in the context of the history of China
Kevin Yeung, education chief

The revised curriculum guidelines were announced on Thursday, and would be implemented progressively in Form One, starting from September 2020 at the earliest.

As reported on previous consultation drafts of the framework, there would also be no mention of contentious issues such as the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown in 1989 or the 1967 anti-colonial riots.

Yeung said there was no need to list individual events in the framework, and he believed teachers would continue to raise such subjects in class as they had always done.

“There is no mention [of such events] in the current curriculum adopted from 1997 either,” Yeung said. “I know many teachers have taught [about these events] and I believe the situation would remain unchanged.”

Yeung urged educators to adopt a balanced approach and not to instil their own political thoughts into students.

Chinese history has in recent years become a subject of controversy in Hong Kong with Beijing supporters advocating more emphasis to address the issue of radical separatist thoughts among youngsters.

But pan-democrats fear it could be used to promote a biased view of history.