Rao Geping, a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee and a law professor at Peking University, said on Wednesday that Hong Kong needs “decolonization” education in schools to help the youth change their thinking and develop a Chinese national identity.
Speaking at forum in Beijing, the mainland academic said that he was shocked and distressed at the actions of the students in Hong Kong last year. The conduct of the younger generation, which took to the streets and railed against the central government, shows the need for national education and discarding the colonial legacy of the past, Rao said, according to an Apple Daily report Thursday.
Given that some protesters held UK flags during the Occupy movement and showed hatred toward China, the Hong Kong government should introduce “decolonization” education in schools, he was quoted as saying.
Hong Kong’s education system, which was inherited from the colonial days, doesn’t gel with the new reality of the city being a part of China, Rao said. Only by removing the legacy of its colonial past can Hong Kong curb the anti-mainland sentiment among young people, Rao said at a seminar held by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, of which he is the vice chairman.
National education at Hong Kong schools should focus on Chinese history and culture, rather than ideology and social system, he said.
Hong Kong has not done a good job in educating its youth about how to adapt to “one country, two systems”, he said, urging teachers to “re-enlighten” their students to help them get used to the fact that the city is a special administrative region of China.
Tang Fei, chairman of the pro-establishment Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said at the same seminar that lack of decolonization education was the main cause of the massive protests in Hong Kong in 2012 against the government’s plan to introduce national education in all schools.
The Education Bureau is now conducting consultations on the reform of Liberal Studies at schools. Deng said there is nothing wrong with the current Liberal Studies curriculum, but the problem lies in those who teach it and try to brainwash the students.
A senior Liberal Studies teacher took issue with Deng’s remarks, saying the accusations were unwarranted. Many young people born after 1997 have in fact not received any of the so-called colonization education, the person said.
Other teachers pointed out that the reason why Hong Kong youth harbor negative feelings about China is because there is too much negative news coming from the country.
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