Concerning the Social Awareness of the ‘Liberal Studies’ Generation in Hong Kong
This paper focuses on one compulsory subject of 'Liberal Studies', which has been implemented in Senior Secondary Schools since 2009, and in public examination since 2012, in terms of its influences on social awareness among youngsters nowadays. 'Liberal Studies' has taken over Civic Education policy before the handover. After then it also meets the social demand that Education and Curriculum reforms underpin knowledge-based economy and globalization for the 21st century in the whole society. The curriculum design of 'Liberal Studies' associated with 'Independent Enquiry Study' enables the students to acquire high-level skills, including critical and independent thinking and problem-solving. It is unlike other subjects, whose curriculum design relies on the rote-learning. Meanwhile, the most crucial motivation of how and what to learn for the students is to obtain a better score in public examinations in this compulsory subject. Although most students try to fit with the comments and scoring criteria of the grader as much as possible, some positively participated in the social movement opposed to National Education in 2012 and, subsequently, the Umbrella Movement in 2014. On the basis of the past four years' public examination results, this paper concludes that 'Liberal Studies' encourages the students to deepen their social awareness in terms of critical and independent thinking and, to some extent, to join civil society as well. However, it is likely difficult to evaluate students' problem-solving abilities on the basis of examination results alone.