Teachers and students on the government proposal to make liberal studies optional

Educators call for subject to be made an elective, but students and teachers believe it should remain compulsory

Nicola Chan |

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School principal Choi Kwok-kwong wants less focus on social and political issues.

Teachers and students have spoken out against reported proposals from the government to revamp the liberal studies curriculum. Speaking on RTHK’s City Forum programme on Sunday, school principal Choi Kwok-kwong and union leader Wong Kwan-yu suggested changing the subject so there’s less focus on social and political issues. They also suggested no longer making the subject compulsory.

Vanessa Chung, 18, told Young Post that the subject should remain compulsory. “As most Hong Kong students lack the motivation to get a deeper understanding of society, this subject can train their critical thinking skills, [while] being a source to keep in touch with different social issues,” said the Pooi To Middle School student.

Pro-democracy members of the discussion panel hit back at the proposals, saying the changes would undermine students’ ability to think critically.

“The subject’s goal is to make our young people responsible citizens with the ability to think from different perspectives ... It would not be a compulsory subject if this goal was not important,” liberal studies teacher Cheung Yui-fai said on the show.

The issue came under the spotlight last week with media reports from Sing Tao Daily suggesting that the government would consider making liberal studies an elective, pass-or-fail subject.

Fong King-lok, a liberal studies teacher, told Young Post that not grading students’ performances would “lessen the importance of the subject”.

He added: “Students would not take it seriously if the grading system is simplified to a pass or fail ... it would be impossible for students to prove their abilities in critical thinking and reasoning.”

Edited by Nicole Moraleda