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Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 00:32

Survey: HK people attach importance to Chinese history education

By Dara Wang

HONG KONG - Over 60 percent of Hong Kong residents think it's necessary to make Chinese history a compulsory and separate subject in secondary schools, a survey by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) revealed on Monday.

The survey, based on telephone interviews of 530 Hong Kong residents aged above 15 in October, showed that nearly 60 percent of the respondents agreed with increasing the proportion of the city’s history related to the Chinese mainland in the school curriculum.

Among all those surveyed, some 70 percent agreed that greater importance should be attached to Chinese history teaching. They thought that secondary school students in Hong Kong generally lacked relevant history knowledge.

Chinese history is a compulsory subject in junior high school, while it is an elective one in senior high school.

The number of senior students taking Chinese history for their Diploma of Secondary Education exams has declined 70 percent from some 26,000 to 6,356 over the past five years, according to the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

The situation is urgent and to make Chinese history a compulsory subject is necessary as every student should be clear of the nation’s history, said DAB Vice-Chairman Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan.

So far, 392 junior secondary schools – around 88 percent of the total – have the Chinese history curriculum as a separate subject, according to the Education Bureau.

However, the DAB found that 42 of those teach the subject dissociated from others only for one or two years, Cheung said.

He urged that all junior secondary schools in the city should teach Chinese history separately from world history and other humanities subjects throughout the three-year education period.

A proposed revision of the Chinese history curriculum has received mixed reactions from educators since the consultation opened at the end of September.

As the class time for this subject is limited, with only one to two Chinese history classes scheduled per week, it is impossible to cover as much content as possible. More emphasis should be put on teaching of mainstream history development, said DAB legislator Edward Lau Kwok-fan.

Lau said teachers should take the responsibility to develop students’ correct view of history and avoid using subjective views to interpret historical events.

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