- Ways to refine the Curriculum Guide to provide schools with the greatest flexibility and autonomy
- Striving for more resources to allow different organisations and schools to develop teaching resources.
(I) Curriculum Guides and Content
Q(I)-1. Does the Moral and National Education aim at brain-washing students?
A(I)-1. The government always disapproves brain-washing. The implementation of the Moral and National Education subject is meant to be school-based. The government duly respects the autonomy of school sponsoring bodies and schools in developing and selecting any teaching resources, and adopting pedagogy they consider suitable.
Q(I)-2.What is the “Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide”?
A(I)-2. The “Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 6)” is prepared by the Ad Hoc Committee on Moral and National Education formed under the Curriculum Development Council, under the leadership of Professor LEE Chack-fan, the former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong. The refined MNE Curriculum Guide was completed in April 2012 after careful deliberation of the views collected in the four-month public consultation held from May to August 2011. The learning objectives of the MNE Curriculum Guide are to cultivate students' values and attitudes, based on universal values (including human rights), enabling students to be moral, think independently, be open-minded and become part of their family, society, the country and even the global village. Suggestions on related life event, issues, pedagogy, learning and teaching materials and assessment are covered in the Curriculum Guide. The Curriculum Guide has been uploaded onto the EDB website (www.edb.gov.hk/MNECG-e) for public’s perusal in which there are no elements for brain-washing.
Q(I)-3. Is all the MNE content on national education?
A(I)-3. The objective of MNE is to cultivate students' positive values and attitudes, embracing content in personal, family, social, national and global domains. National education makes up only 20% of the content. The dimension of contemporary development under discussion accounts for only about 2-3 lessons a year. The three other dimensions of national education are humanities, natural resources and history. The implementation of moral education is a common aspiration among schools, teachers and society.
Q(I)-4. Has consultation on the Moral and National Education (MNE) subject been conducted?
A(I)-4. The MNE Curriculum Guide is prepared by the Ad Hoc Committee on Moral and National Education, which was formed under the leadership of Professor LEE Chack-fan, the former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong, and which comprised principals and teachers from primary and secondary schools. The consultation draft of the Curriculum Guide was released in May 2011, followed by a four-month public consultation period. During the period, eight large-scale consultation sessions were held with over 1500 participants. The EDB gauged views on various occasions, including two meetings on this subject conducted by the Legislative Council (with 102 participating individuals/ organisations). About one thousand submissions were received through various channels (including questionnaires collected from consultation meetings, questionnaires administered in all schools in Hong Kong, and emails, facsimiles and letters). After careful deliberation of the views collected, the Curriculum Guide was refined and submitted to the Curriculum Development Council in February 2012.
Q(I)-5. Why is the Moral and National Education subject guided by “affection”?
Will this amount to brain-washing students from a young age?
A(I)-5. The curriculum for the subject is not guided by “affection”. Rather, it starts holistically from one’s “cognition”, “affection” and “action” conducive to cultivating students’ values and attitudes. “Cognition” helps students to enhance their ability in analysis and making judgments, and deepen their own understanding of values. “Affection” cultivates students’ empathic attitudes, which encourages them to put themselves into others’ shoes and become self-reflective and more understanding of others’ situations. “Action” encourages students to put positive values and attitudes into practice in their daily life, including making thoughtful and reasoned decisions. The three components are intertwined, and together they constitute a learning mode which emphasises and integrates both reason and emotion. Therefore, it is simply not true that the so-called “brain-washing” is involved and that an uncritical and unquestioning habit of mind will be cultivated. (Please refer to P.82 of the Curriculum Guide for details.)
Q(I)-6. According to the Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide, are students required to shed tears whenever they watch the raising of the national flag, and is assessment based on whether students shed tears?
A(I)-6. It is a misunderstanding of the Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide that “students need to shed tears whenever they watch the raising of the national flag”. This is not mentioned in both the consultation draft and the final version of the Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide. With reference to the “Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 6)”, examples of learning contents in Section 2.5.1 of the National Domain in Key Stage One include “learn about and respect the representations of the country, including the date of the National Day and its significance; the design and meaning of the national flag and national emblem as well as the occasions and regulations regarding their use; the etiquette of raising the national flag and hanging the national emblem; the meaning of the national anthem as well as the occasions it is played and related etiquette”. (Please refer to P.30 of the Curriculum Guide for details.)
(II) Learning and Teaching Resources
Q(II)-1. What is the handbook entitled ‘The China Model’?
A(II)-1. The handbook entitled ‘The China Model’, produced and distributed by the National Education Services Centre, is not part of the designated teaching material for MNE. The finalised MNE Curriculum Guide was released on 30 April 2012 while the handbook was published in March 2012. Thus, the handbook is not relevant to the Curriculum Guide. It is misleading to say that the handbook is a brainwashing tool of the Government to implement MNE.
Q(II)-2. What learning and teaching material for MNE can teachers choose from?
A(II)-2. For the learning and teaching of MNE, teachers are encouraged to choose suitable life events and current issues from various sources such as books, teaching kits and newspapers to help students make analyses objectively and from multiple perspectives. Teachers should not avoid discussion of any events or issues. School Sponsoring Bodies (SSBs) are welcome to develop SSB-based learning and teaching materials aligned with their mission and vision. There are no mandatory learning and teaching materials imposed by the Government.
(III) Implementation of MNE subject
Q(III)-1. Why should the Moral and National Education (MNE) subject be implemented?
A(III)-1. The implementation of the MNE subject is based on over ten years of accumulated experiences in schools. There had been a lot of discussions in society and voices which demanded the government to strengthen moral and national education in the past few years. The last tenure of government had gone through extensive consultation before announcing the implementation of the MNE subject in April 2012.
Q(III)-2. Why is Moral and National Education (MNE) suggested being implemented as an independent subject?
A(III)-2. The MNE subject aims at developing students’ moral qualities, independent thinking skills and broadmindedness to equip them as members of their family, society, country and the world. Compared with the cross-curricular approach, implementing MNE as an independent subject would allow learning to become more systematic and progressive. The focus of the MNE subject is not on the teaching of content knowledge but the cultivation of positive values. Therefore, implementing MNE as an independent subject can avoid assessments and examinations as those in other academic subjects as well as the awarding of marks.
Q(III)-3. Is the government steamrollering the implementation of the Moral and National Education (MNE) subject?
A(III)-3. The Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject, with wide participation from the community, has been established by the government. The Committee will make contact with various stakeholders to address the public’s concerns over the MNE subject. The government has stated that it does not intend to mandate the implementation of the subject in September 2012. Schools can exercise their discretion to decide when to start implementing the subject based on their school contexts.
Q(III)-4. Is the government turning a blind eye to the plea by the ten thousand people who took to the streets and the protests in the hunger strikes? Has the government been respecting dissenting voices?
A(III)-4. The government duly respects views from different parties in the community, including the opposing views. In fact, Ms Anna Wu, the Chairperson of the “Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject”, has already accepted the opposing voices and promised to discuss the following issues:
The Chief Executive has been meeting the organisations, which have concerns or opposing views regarding the MNE subject, one after the other. Invitation letters have already been sent to Scholarism, the Parents Concern Group on National Education and the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union to invite their representatives to have a frank exchange of views with the Chief Executive and Ms Anna Wu under no pre-set conditions. The Chief Executive looks forward to their early positive reply.
Q(III)-5. Why did you say that there is much room between withdrawing and not withdrawing and why didn’t you simply withdraw the subject?
A(III)-5： This subject has gone through more than 10 years of preparation. The previous government stated in the 2010-11 Policy Address that it was to become an independent subject, and public consultation had been held to collect views. The Curriculum Guide was finalised after thorough discussions and revisions. The government has always put emphasis on due process, without which there could be serious impacts. The “Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject” was set up to collect views from different parties. The government is willing to discuss with all friends, who have views on this subject, and will only make decisions after collecting and listening to all the views.
Q(III)-6. How will the Moral and National Education (MNE) subject be implemented?
A(III)-6. Taking the community’s views into consideration, the modes and schedule for the implementation of the MNE subject will be determined by the school sponsoring bodies (SSBs) and schools in accordance with their mission and vision, schools’ readiness and professional judgment. SSBs and schools could use their discretion in deciding how to handle relevant matters, including whether to develop the MNE subject, whether to implement MNE as an independent subject or adopt other modes, and the implementation schedule.
Q(III)-7. Does the government have a schedule for the implementation of the MNE subject?
A(III)-7. Relevant matters related to the modes and schedule for the implementation of the MNE subject will be handled and determined by the school sponsoring bodies (SSBs) and schools in accordance with their vision and mission, schools’ readiness and professional judgment. Thus, the three-year “initiation period” will be abolished.
Q(IV)-1. Will students’ performance in MNE affect their academic results or allocation of school places?
A(IV)-1. Marks are not encouraged to be given to students in the MNE assessment. As such, students’ performance in MNE will not affect their academic results nor allocation of school places.
Q(IV)-2. It is believed that the “Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject” is an illustration of the government working behind closed doors. What is your response?
A(IV)-2. The Committee’s scope of discussion is very broad and any issues related to the Moral and National Education subject can be deliberated. The Committee will then forward independent and impartial views to the government. The government calls upon the concerned parties to reconsider joining this Committee in order to voice their views directly. As the CE has mentioned, there is room for discussion on whether or not to withdraw the subject. The Education Bureau has not yet disseminated any reference teaching resources for the subject. The public are welcome to provide their comments to the Committee.
Q(IV)-3. What is the role of the “Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject”?
A(IV)-3. The “Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject” chaired by Ms Anna Wu will continue to collect views and propose suggestions to the Government and the CDC on various issues about the MNE subject, including resources, teaching resources, Curriculum Guide, etc, from various sectors in society. The Committee will have a meeting in September to discuss the related issues.
Q(IV)-4. How should schools handle the “Moral and National Education Support Grant (formerly known as the Moral and National Education Subject Support Grant)” of $530,000 that was disbursed in August?
A(IV)-4. Regardless of the modes of implementing the related education (i.e. moral and national education, such as values education, life education, knowing more about the country, civic education, sustainable development education, sex education, etc) and matters, schools can continue to use the Moral and National Education Support Grant that was disbursed in August 2012 flexibly for the preparation as well as learning and teaching of the school-based related education and items. For more details about this grant, please refer to the EDB Circular Memorandum No. 135/2012.