Govt to rip up liberal studies for a 'fresh start' - RTHK
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Govt to rip up liberal studies for a 'fresh start'

2020-11-26 HKT 18:36
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  • Govt to rip up liberal studies for a 'fresh start'
The Education Bureau says it is going to introduce sweeping changes to the liberal studies secondary school subject which has been blamed by many pro-Beijing figures for last year's social unrest.

The subject will get a new curriculum, grading system and even a different name, with the changes likely to come into force from the start of the next academic year.

Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said on Thursday that all the teaching materials will be vetted by the government, and the existing curriculum will be slashed in half "to reduce the pressure on students". There will be more emphasis on the country's development, the constitution, the Basic Law and the rule of law.

The assessment mechanism for the subject will also be revamped from the original seven-grade scoring system to a simple pass or fail.

Yeung said pupils will be required to take a trip to the mainland as part of the course, adding that there's nothing new in strengthening students' knowledge of their country.

“There is no major change in the new or what we call revamped subject. It will have discussions of national education in there....it’s always one of our objectives in all of our subjects,” he said.

The secretary explained at a press conference that the subject needs a new name because of the "negative stigma" associated with liberal studies.

“We observed that over the years, there are a lot of... usually not so good connotations with the name. As we are now going to refine the subject, we are now trying to make the subject have a new start. We think it is more appropriate to have a new name," he said.

Yeung said the Curriculum Development Council can decide what the subject should be known as in future, adding that the government has no problem with the word "liberal".

The subject, which is meant to encourage critical thinking, has come under constant criticism from members of the pro-Beijing camp who claim it has fuelled anti-government sentiment among students.