History curriculum in schools to be 'renewed': Leung

January 14, 2015 15:59
Hong Kong scrapped a "national education" plan in 2012 following protests from students and parent groups. Authorities now want to fine-tune the history curriculum to help students 'gain better understanding' of China. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong will "renew" the curriculum content of Chinese History and World History "to reinforce students' interest in and understanding of Chinese history and culture and broaden their global outlook", Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Wednesday.

The Education Bureau will also provide subsidy for students to join at least one mainland exchange program in the primary and secondary school stages, Leung said in his annual policy address.

The government will, starting from the 2015/16 school year, launch a pilot scheme to provide financial and professional support for schools in a bid to double the number of primary and secondary "sister schools" in Hong Kong and the mainland to about 600 pairs within three years, he said.

Authorities will engage with mainland provinces and cities to explore opportunities to expand and enhance such exchanges and cooperation.

The policy announcements came after hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets in Hong Kong last year calling for political reforms.

On Jan. 9, Chen Zuo'er, former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said Hong Kong’s education secretary should be under the supervision of Beijing at all times as recent developments showed that there were problems in the city’s education system.

Chen said at a forum in Beijing that Hong Kong’s education sector has been a mess since the 1997 handover and that it failed to help the youth understand mainland China.

In 2012, the government sought to launch a national education program, but the plan was met with strong opposition from students and parent groups.

More than 120,000 people protested outside the government building in Admiralty during one rally, prompting authorities to eventually shelve the program.

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