School education emphasises cultivating positive values and attitude in students, promoting their whole-person development, and enabling them to become good nationals and citizens. Constitution Day on 4 December is an important day to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (the Constitution). It offers a good opportunity for schools to promote national identity, the rule of law, and a sense of responsibility and commitment through teaching and learning.
The Constitution and the Basic Law Together Form the HKSAR Constitutional Order
As the fundamental law and supreme law of the state, the Constitution is a significant symbol and sign of the nation and has the highest legal status and authority. All citizens have the responsibility to understand and abide by the Constitution. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was established in accordance with Article 31 of the Constitution, which serves as the basis of the constitutional order of the HKSAR. In other words, the Constitution provides the legislative backing and source of authority for the Basic Law, and together, they form the constitutional order of the HKSAR. Schools should teach students this relationship between the "root" and the "origin". The whole community must respect the Constitution and the Basic Law to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of the "One country, Two systems" principle.
The Constitution applies to every part of the country, including the HKSAR. The HKSAR exercises and enjoys the powers granted by the Central Government in accordance with the Basic Law. The powers which are not granted to the HKSAR through the Basic Law shall be exercised and performed by the Central Government in accordance with the Constitution. Therefore, we should have an accurate understanding of the Basic Law and deepen our knowledge of the Constitution.
Diversified Activities Promote Education on the Constitution and the Basic Law
The Education Bureau (EDB) attaches great importance to education on the Constitution and the Basic Law. Various teaching and learning activities are organised to help students understand the Constitution and the Basic Law in a holistic manner. We have included relevant learning elements in different Key Learning Areas and established a thematic webpage on Basic Law education for all teachers. At the same time, we provide professional development programmes to help them master the corresponding legal knowledge to enhance education on the Constitution and the Basic Law at the school level.
On Constitution Day this year, the HKSAR Government will hold an online seminar to study the important topic of "The Constitution and National Security" together with the general public. Please stay tuned for the details. The EDB has disseminated information about the seminar to schools. Despite the suspension of face-to-face classes, schools can still arrange for students to learn at home and watch live broadcast of the seminar or its recording. We have also organised an online Constitution Day quiz, in which students can participate upon registration and learn through games under schools' guidance. In recent months, many schools have seized the opportunity to organise different school-based learning activities relating to Constitution Day, such as designing of display boards, to provide students with more opportunities to learn about the Constitution.
Learn about the Constitution and Love our Country and Home
To understand the Constitution, we can first read its preamble and outline, which is also the best starting point to understand the history, the development mission and the governance vision of the country. The preamble gives a brief on the major historical events and the history of revolutions of our country since the 20th century, as well as introduces its guiding ideology. By reading the outline, we can understand our country's institutions, political structure and fundamental state policies. Our country had long suffered from invasion and oppression from 1840 until 1949, when the People's Republic of China was established, united the people and created a new milestone in Chinese history. Since 1978, people’s livelihood has been improving and our country has been getting stronger alongside its deepening reform and opening up.
The Constitution is the general charter for the governance and order of our country. It is the legal basis for securing national unity, ethnic solidarity, economic development, social progress and long-term stability. Without the country, there is no home. Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the country. I hope that students will learn more about the Constitution through the Constitution Day activities, understand the importance of safeguarding national security and stability, actively participate in and promote developments in various aspects, and contribute whole-heartedly to our country and Hong Kong for a better future.
2 December 2020