søndag 9. mai 2021

Is Hong Kong facing an education crisis? Curriculum changes, ‘red lines’ and families rushing to leave

Not in recent memory has Hong Kong education been so disrupted, by protest, politics and then a year of actual pestilence. And as Hong Kong parents peer into the months ahead, with the pandemic seeming to be on the retreat, they are making difficult decisions over their children’s education, in a context radically changed not only by Covid-19, but the new political landscape.

In early April, the Education Bureau confirmed that four core subjects of the senior secondary curriculum – Chinese and English languages, mathematics and liberal studies – would be “optimised”, in order to address Beijing’s concerns, following unrest in the city, that students were being taught unpatriotic ideals in classrooms. This includes the renaming of liberal studies as “citizenship and social development”, which is regarded by schools as, in reality, a new subject, it being halved in curriculum time, graded by a simple pass/fail, and involving a heavy emphasis on national education, including a compulsory school visit to mainland China.