With kick-off classes to overhaul thoroughly, [HK] education gets a refresh new look
Hong Kong's education gains a refresh new look with the start of the new academic year. The subject of Citizenship and Social Development (CSD) is formally introduced in secondary schools, which is well received by students and teachers. It is evident that the kick-off civic education classes have achieved good results, as seen from students and teachers' in-depth Q&A (questions and answers) interactions in class to their enthusiastically sharing understandings and feelings after class. Needless to say, this is just the beginning. There are still a lot more to be done, which calls for whole society's joint efforts.
The CSD curriculum comprises three themes, namely Hong Kong under "One Country, Two Systems", Our Country since Reform and Opening-up and Interconnectedness and Interdependence of the Contemporary World. It is a fresh new subject. Hence there is no off-the-shelf textbook for the time being, and it is for schools and teachers concerned to decide on how to teach the subject based on the Education Bureau's (EDB) curriculum guide and courseware on relevant websites. As a result, some teachers are concerned with the teaching effects. Yet in practice, in view of yesterday's actual teaching effects, teaching this subject is not as difficult as imagined, so long as the curriculum guide and teaching materials provided by the EDB are followed to make full preparations. For instance, Hon Wah College's first CSD class started with the Opium War to explain the origin of the Hong Kong issue, while G.T. (Ellen Yeung) College and some other schools began with the Hong Kong National Security Law to explain the importance of safeguarding national security. They have all achieved very good effects.
[After the classes] a student expressed her deep comprehension that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China and the Hong Kong people are part of the nation. Another student thought the CSD subject was unique because it offered the opportunity for students to learn the national Constitution and the Basic Law and helped students to think deeply to enhance their national identity. The Principal of Hon Wah College was fully confident about attaining the teaching objectives, stressing that understanding Hong Kong and understanding the nation should start with the CSD to consolidate students' basic knowledge about Hong Kong's history, the nation and world development, and that teachers could also deepen their understanding of the national circumstances through preparing for teaching the subject.
It is a significant move in Hong Kong's educational reform to replace the highly-criticised Liberal Studies (LS) with the CSD subject. In recent years, a large number of young people have failed to concentrate on studies but seemed bent on taking to the streets to take part in various kinds of anti-government and even unlawful activities. The crux of this problem lies in that something has gone wrong with our education. Manipulated by some people with ulterior motives, the LS subject has fallen into a "brain washing" instrument, with young people becoming the greatest victims. Removing the LS subject has long been a social consensus. The CSD subject now takes up the heavy responsibility of fostering students' national recognition and sense of national identity. It is of great significance.
Many teachers hope that the EDB could provide more teaching resources, and that it is better to have standard textbooks. This is quite understandable. It is learned that textbooks are being busily prepared and will soon be published. As a matter of fact, CSD teaching may not necessarily be confined to textbooks, as teaching materials can be found everywhere in daily life. Taking the Tokyo Olympic Games for examples, both the nation's and Hong Kong's women's table tennis teams stepped up on the podium together, as both the national flag and regional flag were steadily rising amid the majestic national anthem. This is the epitome of Hong Kong and the Motherland sharing glory. Another example is that Hong Kong students will hold "an Earth-Heaven dialogue" with our country's Taikonauts today. From this they could gain knowledge about our country's advance by leaps and bounds in aerospace science and technology, with the pride of being Chinese nationals spontaneously welling up in their hearts. This is also vivid CSD educational stuff.
The successful implementation of the CSD subject is meant reform in Hong Kong's education has moved forward a crucial step. But for this step to be taken steadily and stably, it needs support with more measures, such as strengthening training teachers and steadily improving and optimising the curriculum, etc. The ultimate aim is to help young people to secure value identification with "one country two systems", and to foster students' sense of national identity. This is a realistic requirement for Hong Kong to restore order from chaos and then progress from order to reinvigoration, and furthermore the shared responsibility of all social sectors in Hong Kong.
03 September 2021