'Focus on pluses in liberal studies'

Local | Sophie Hui and Erin Chan 8 Feb 2021

Both the advantages and disadvantages of Hong Kong and the mainland's systems should be highlighted when students are taught about the one country, two systems principle in the proposed liberal studies curriculum, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said.

Yeung also admitted that authorities will step up monitoring of the new subject, including reviewing teaching materials and sending representatives to inspect classes.

In the new curriculum, the number of teaching hours will be halved, and there will be more content about the mainland and less on the city's current affairs.

It will remain a compulsory subject, but grading will be changed to a simple pass or fail in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination.

Yeung told a TV program yesterday that the new curriculum will highlight China's constitution, the city's constitutional status and the Basic Law, as well as the relationship between Hong Kong and China, as people did not have much of an understanding of these issues.

On whether the new curriculum will focus on the advantages of China's development, Yeung said since the teaching hours would be reduced, it has to teach what students should know, though they can still discuss the disadvantages.

"It would be a good time to explain that Hong Kong and the mainland are one country, two systems when talking about the differences between the legal systems of the two places," he said.

"Everyone knows that there is no absolute good or bad but [teachers] can analyze it rationally with students, such as what Hong Kong can do and what are the advantages and disadvantages, what the mainland can do and cannot do," he said.

Meanwhile, Lau Chi-pang, the chairman of Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority's Committee on the Renamed Subject, said on a radio program yesterday that destinations of study trips for students may be expanded to include Macau and Taiwan. "Our understanding of Taiwan ranges from the place being a tourism hotspot and experiencing its hipster vibe to its politics," he said.

"Taiwan's customs and the Taiwanese people's views of themselves and its geography are also worth investigating."

Lau also said he understood some parents' concerns about students' safety when they join study trips to the mainland, and that the committee was still discussing whether the trips were a necessity. He appealed to teachers who are against the reforms to put aside their prejudices, saying that the current curriculum of the subject was too complex and needed to be streamlined.

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April 2021

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