The Education Bureau has issued new curriculum guidelines requiring secondary schools to introduce 51 hours of teaching on the Basic Law over a three-year period, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Under the guidelines published on Thursday, the lessons will be taught to students from form one to form three under Chinese History, Life and Society, and History and Geography.
Under the mandatory subject of Chinese History, 24 hours of teaching content will be spent on the Basic Law.
Schools that do not offer Life and Society will be required to adopt a 15-hour course on Constitution and the Basic Law.
Responding to criticism that the new guidelines is tantamount to re-introducing the controversial national education program, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said while the teaching content might be similar, the new curriculum is not meant to be an alternative to national education.
Ng went on to explain that the new curriculum focuses mainly on the optimization of the allocation of existing teaching content, while no new teaching content has been added.
When asked if teachers must illustrate a firm stance against Hong Kong independence, Ng said the notion is clearly against the Basic Law and the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
Legislator Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education functional constituency, said spending 24 of the 100 teaching hours under the subject of Chinese History is a relatively high percentage.
The arrangements could put unnecessary pressure on curriculum planning and teaching staff.
Ip criticized the guidelines for adopting an inappropriate metaphor by describing the relationship between the central government and Hong Kong as one of a school principal delegating the management of a class to a teacher.
He also questioned the bureau’s decision to remove content related to basic human rights in the revised teaching materials.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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