In an effort to “systematically cultivate” a sense of national identity among primary school pupils, Hong Kong’s Education Bureau has announced a new mandatory humanities subject that emphasises “patriotic education”. It is slated to replace general studies from September 2025.
The comprehensive humanities curriculum encompasses Chinese culture, history and geography, with topics ranging from national security legislation to the achievements of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to South China Morning Post.
Strengthening Patriotic Education In China
Pupils will learn about the opium war and Japan’s invasion of China. As per The Standard, they are also expected to be taught the constitutional relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area, among other topics.
The bureau said the changes were made in line with legislation that called for stronger patriotic education in China. Although Mainland China maintains separate governing and economic system in Hong Kong, it has gradually increased its control.
Highlighting the need for pupils to be aware of China’s achievements, Paul Lee Kin-wan, an education official overseeing curriculum development, said: “It wouldn’t be right if students know nothing about their country after six years of education.”
Teachers Raise Concerns Over Curriculum
The curriculum demands 93 hours of attention, or about 7% of students’ time in primary school. Most of the suggested material came from government departments, including a video on Hong Kong’s national security law, with no mention of the mass protest that preceded its enactment.
Dozens of teachers have, however, reportedly expressed concerns about the curriculum’s complexity, with some fearing the extensive content might hinder students’ absorption of knowledge. The change could impact schools’ flexibility and teachers’ workload.