Date
11 December 2017
The EDB's new textbooks on liberal studies have purposely left out information about Hong Kong’s autonomy. Photo: Demosisto Facebook
The EDB's new textbooks on liberal studies have purposely left out information about Hong Kong’s autonomy. Photo: Demosisto Facebook

EDB under fire for ‘brainwashing’ in liberal studies textbooks

The Education Bureau (EDB) is being accused of trying to brainwash school children with Communist Party propaganda.

The EDB’s new textbooks on liberal studies have purposely left out information about Hong Kong’s autonomy, Apple Daily reports.

Demosisto said the new liberal studies textbooks had copied the content from the controversial white paper on “one country, two systems” for a definition of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The white paper states that Hong Kong enjoys as much autonomy as the central government grants.

The party urged schools to stop using the textbooks. It has set up road stations with the Progressive Teachers’ Alliance to remind students and the public about the material’s “biased stance”.

Demosisto is also considering meeting with the EDB to request amendments.

The textbook Hong Kong Today is one of the many that EDB introduced for liberal studies in 2013. The newest edition of the book directly quotes the white paper on the “basic concepts of Hong Kong politics”.

Worksheets at the back of the book require students to do multiple choice on what can improve their national identity, with options such as “China’s technological development”, “historical moments”, “international status” and “literature”.

There are also examples of the “correct attitude” that teachers should remind students to maintain when teaching about their national identity.

Demosisto member Lily Huang said that the white paper has been controversial since its release and should not have been directly adopted in the teaching material in the first place.

She said pressuring students into loving their country through education is “manipulative”.

Cheng Ka-long, another Demosisto member, said the material itself is misleading, hk01.com reports.

He said the material advocates nationalism by praising the efforts China has made in the past and requires teachers to “correct” how children think about their own cultural and national identity.

The material also rejects the original idea that liberal studies should be unbiased, based on different perspectives and should encourage independent critical thinking.

Experienced liberal studies teacher Hui Shing-yan said they are at loss at how to teach a student to be “correct” or “positive” about the negative aspects of China’s past.

“Does it mean I must balance out what I say about China?” He asks. “So in the end does it only matter that students love China more?”

He said most teachers would not just directly paraphrase things from the textbook and would incorporate different news articles and other texts to enable students to think in different perspectives.

However, he added that he is not sure whether they would use the textbook and adjust the way they teach.

An EDB spokesperson said the material had been compiled professionally under strict guidelines after consulting various government departments including the Department of Justice.

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