Patriotic Education Center launched in Hong Kong as youth education tops agenda of SAR govt
Published: Jul 17, 2022 05:51 PM
The Patriotic Education Center established by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers Photo: Courtesy of Wen Wei Po

The Patriotic Education Center established by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers Photo: Courtesy of Wen Wei Po

The Patriotic Education Center established by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers - the largest teachers union in the city - was officially launched on Saturday with the aim of promoting patriotic and national security education. Industry representatives said pushing forward the patriotic education tops the agenda of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government with more measures expected to be rolled out. 

During the launch ceremony, John Lee Ka-chiu, the chief executive of the HKSAR government, declared that this achievement marks a new landmark for the patriotic education in Hong Kong. The Education Bureau (EDB) fully supports local schools to systematically plan and implement national education, helping students foster the correct understanding about the country's history, culture and values. It also supports cultivating the youth's national awareness and national identity, safeguarding the city's long-term prosperity, stability and the sustainable practice of the "one country, two systems." 

The center was established in Chun Shek Estate in order to assist local schools in patriotic education and it will hold an official opening day to the public in August. Service will start in the upcoming new semester, local media Wen Wei Po reported on Monday. Equipped with technologies such as AR and VR, the center will showcase the modern history of China, and it will also hold different exhibitions to present the current situation of the country. Students will also be able to participate in various activities in the center such as role-playing the Hong Kong-UNESCO meeting. At the same time, the center is also preparing the training for local teachers in the future, media reports said. 

"To push forward the patriotic education in Hong Kong, the most important thing is to use the right and proper title for the work besides improve the curriculum and textbook," Tang Fei, the federation's vice-chairman, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

In the past, the Hong Kong society used a relatively neutral way to describe this work by calling it national education, but in fact, the work was expected to foster students' patriotic sentiment, Tang noted. The biggest difference is to call it in a straightforward and clear way, he said, noting that the center will not only serve as an exhibition center but also invite students and teachers to hold various activities to achieve this goal.

Youth education is one of the major areas that the HKSAR government vowed to reform, and the youth are getting growing attention from the public. The Education Bureau announced the first batch of textbooks applicable to the subject of Citizenship and Social Development in Hong Kong in June, with six sets of textbooks from five publishers selected.

With designated textbooks and a detailed syllabus issued by the EDB, experts believed that some teachers will no longer be able to convey their wrong and poisonous political views to students. Such a situation, previously much criticized by the Hong Kong education community, will be changed. 

Christine Choi Yuk-lin, the head of the EDB, was quoted as saying in media reports on Sunday that the subject of Citizenship and Social Development will provide students opportunities to visit the Chinese mainland, and the bureau will financially sponsor the visit for one time, enabling students to understand the country's development and make reflect upon it. 

Let students know their country from childhood is one of the goals of education, Choi noted. In the past, the lack of understanding or the misinterpretation of facts led to different problems, she said. 

Even though students do not understand the socialist system as the fundamental system of the country, they have to respect it. They need to understand the country's historical background and characteristics, and understand that the system is the best for benefiting 1.4 billion Chinese people, the official said. 

Vice Minister of Education Tian Xuejun told at the launch ceremony on Saturday that the environment for patriotic education promotion in Hong Kong has been constantly improving over the past two years, and that the planning for the patriotic education has also been improving at the same time.