The Journal of Social Studies Education in Asia Volume 7
published_at 2018

Developments and Challenges of Civic Education in Hong Kong SAR, China (1997-2017)

Chong Eric King-man
539 KB
This paper reviews the developments and challenges of civic education in Hong Kong SAR, China, from 1997 to 2017. Civic education started to introduce rights and responsibilities in the mid-1980s, when the British colonial era entered a transition period. Just before the resumption of Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, nationalistic calls were made for civic education to prepare Hong Kong students to participate in national life after 1997 and to introduce them to rights awareness and democratic ideals to involve them in a democratic return to China. However, entering the 2000s, the need for a holistic educational reform surfaced with new imperatives, such as enhancing students’ ability to use information technology and to read to learn, and moral and civic education was considered a key learning task. Civic education themes, such as national identity and global citizenship, emerged in this educational reform era in the early 2000s, against a background of a series of educational reforms covering school governance, educational management, curriculum and pedagogy. With increasing official pressure on nationalistic needs to enhance students’ understanding of China, the Hong Kong SAR government started to arrange study tours to China for both senior and junior secondary school students, as well as for upper primary school students. School-based civic and moral education programmes on community exploration, Chinese national identity, moral and value education, environmental education also flourished in this period. Meanwhile, social discontent with the governance of the Hong Kong SAR increased, which had implications for Hong Kong people’s identity and the endeavours towards political reform and democratic development. Civil society’s anti-national education movement in 2012 and the Occupy and Umbrella Movement in 2014 further demonstrated a strong desire to protect local values, assert Hong Kong’s identity and push for democratic development, which were at odds with embracing a Chinese national identity. This indicates the failure of the mandatory implementation of national education in 2012, which aimed primarily to develop Chinese national identity. The movement also led to a stalemate since 2014, as there was nowhere to go for civic education after the clash of Hong Kong society with both the Hong Kong SAR government and the Central People’s Government in Beijing.
civic education
national education
Hong Kong SAR
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