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Friday, May 25, 2018, 01:50
New history curriculum emphasizes HK's role in nation
By He Shusi
Friday, May 25, 2018, 01:50 By He Shusi

HONG KONG – The Chinese History curriculum in Hong Kong’s secondary schools will put more emphasis on the city’s role in the nation and its relations with the mainland during different periods of its history, the Education Bureau announced on Thursday.

The bureau made these comments while releasing the revised curriculum – following almost five years of professional consultations.

This is the first official revision of the history curriculum in Hong Kong secondary schools since 1997. It was finalized after 80 percent of history teachers from different schools reached agreement on all specific amendments.

The Revised Curriculum Frameworks of Junior Secondary Chinese History (Secondary 1-3) and History (Secondary 1-3) are expected to be implemented from Secondary 1 level by September 2020 at the earliest. English Schools Foundation and international schools are not included.

The new curriculum guidelines explore Hong Kong’s role in Chinese history starting from Secondary 1 – which examines when Hong Kong first became part of China in about 200 BC.

Covering 10 percent of total teaching hours, topics on Hong Kong cover major historical periods. These include colonial times, the Chinese Civil War, Hong Kong’s role in the mainland’s reforms and opening-up era, the draft of the Basic Law and establishment of the special administrative region.

The revised curriculum guideline states that the new curriculum aims: “to create a sense of involvement for students, (to) teach them the inseparable relations between Hong Kong and the nation… and foster their sense of national identity”.

Professor Leung Yuen-sang, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Revising Junior Secondary Chinese History and History Curricula (Secondary 1-3) and dean of arts of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said: “It is a Chinese History curriculum customized for Hong Kong people.”

The revised framework will also reduce the amount of national culture studied to 14 percent. It will also integrate this into a chronological study of China’s political transformation – instead of having culture as a separate section. This is because previously it was sometimes not completed due to limited teaching hours.

The major content will still be a chronological study of China’s political transformation, which will account for 76 percent in total. However, teaching hours will now be assigned almost equally to ancient, modern and contemporary history. Under the old approach, more emphasis was given to ancient history.

The revised framework for history courses for Secondary 1-3 will also see updates on the history of other important countries and civilizations. This includes Islamic civilization and the United States to help broaden the international outlook of students.

Revisions to the study of Chinese history and history of other countries and civilizations will now have optional topics when covering different historical periods. This will help teachers adapt these topics to different abilities and interests of students.

These changes aim to offer students a more comprehensive and dynamic understanding of history while fostering their ability to think independently, objectively, logically and critically, explained Chief Curriculum Development Officer Gloria Chan Pik-wah.

The EDB will also strive for more diverse history teaching through activities including e-learning and museum tours on the mainland.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in her Policy Address last October that the EDB would include Chinese History as an independent compulsory subject for junior secondary students – starting from this September.

These changes were set in motion in December 2013 when a task force was established. It comprised school teachers, university professors and government officials who are all involved in the history education sector.

The committee collected views from professional groups through different channels, including feedback from seminars, focus groups and a consultation which occurred in two stages.


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