Why liberal studies should remain a compulsory subject in Hong Kong

By Matthew Chow, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Some pro-government politicians have blamed LS for encouraging young people to take part in the ongoing protests

By Matthew Chow, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College |

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Some pro-government politicians have blamed liberal studies – a compulsory subject for senior secondary school students – for encouraging young people to take part in the ongoing protests.

They say the subject should be made an elective, which means not all students need to study it. I don’t agree. I think liberal studies should continue to be a compulsory course for the HKDSE. This is because it helps students to stay in touch with the news and gives them a better understanding of society.

Also, the main objective of liberal studies is to help students better their critical thinking and positive values. This is useful for them in their daily lives. For example, when they are reading an article, they would be able to judge whether it is a real story or a made-up one. They are less likely to let their emotions get in the way of a proper analysis of a situation. This can prevent conflict in society.

Pro-government legislators say some liberal studies teachers may be biased so their ideas may have a negative effect on students. Also, the subject lacks specified topics and contents.

I think this can be easily solved. The Education Bureau can give the teachers some guidelines and send representatives to schools to sit in on liberal studies classes.

Matthew Chow, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Hong Kong government announces plan to advise publishers of liberal studies textbooks, citing the protests as a reason

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Matthew.

Over the past decade, Hong Kong’s education system has seen a lot of changes, and new subjects have been introduced.

Liberal studies is one of them, and as you say, it teaches students how to use their analytical skills and unique ideas to solve problems. Learning is not only about memorising information. You should be able to make an in-depth analysis of various issues.

The subject focuses on current affairs, which is a good way for students to acquire general knowledge. It also helps to increase their interest in politics, which could be useful for life after secondary school.

The skills students learn in liberal studies will benefit them at university, where they are expected to think for themselves. It is mainly about broadening your understanding of the world, including Hong Kong.

I suggest that you read as much as possible. It is important to know what’s happening around us. Young Post realises this. Make sure you watch out for our liberal studies double-page spreads every Tuesday and Thursday.

M. J. Premaratne, Sub-editor