Moral and National Education must address Hong Kong's Diversity

First published: 27th July 2012

Today I contacted the National Education Department and was informed that the booklet "The China Model" was not available in English. The department's website is also Chinese-only.

While the discussion in the media has been useful, only a few small parts of the teaching materials have been highlighted. I particularly wanted to check whether the points I raised during the public consultation last August had been addressed.

Firstly, the Foreword of the Curriculum Guide said, "Cultivating students’ moral and national qualities has always been the main objective of school education", but this is incorrect. Teachers established schools and taught children before nations existed, and the Education Bureau, on its website presents a different Vision: "We provide quality school education for our students, to develop their potential to the full and to prepare them for the challenges in life." Also, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognize the right of the child to education. It is significant that these are Rights of the Child, not Rights of the Nation.

Secondly, I wanted to know how the subject would address the multicultural identity of Hong Kong. The Curriculum Guide assumed in many places that all the students would be pure Chinese, but Hong Kong school pupils also include foreigners, people not of Chinese descent born in Hong Kong, people of mixed descent, and people of Chinese descent who were born elsewhere or have foreign passports. They all have an equal right to education.

Did the Education Bureau consider the Public Consultation submissions before going ahead with these plans? I would really like to examine the teaching materials myself before jumping to the conclusion that Moral and National Education is jingoistic brainwashing aimed at segregating and marginalising Hong Kong's minorities, but perhaps the Education Bureau's language choices for the booklet and website are eloquent enough.

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