CE defends changes to Liberal Studies - RTHK
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CE defends changes to Liberal Studies

2020-11-28 HKT 09:56
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  • CE defends changes to Liberal Studies
Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday defended sweeping changes to the Liberal Studies secondary school subject, saying she thought it had been problematic from the beginning.

On Thursday, the Education Bureau announced that the subject – compulsory for higher forms since 2009 – would get a new curriculum and grading system from the original seven-grade scoring system to a simple pass or fail.

All the teaching materials will also be vetted by the SAR government, and there will be more emphasis on the country's development, the constitution, the Basic Law and the rule of law.

Speaking on an RTHK programme on Saturday, Lam said Liberal Studies had come under continuous criticism over the past decade, and that she had always felt worried about how the subject was taught.

"With this important and compulsory subject, there has not been a curriculum framework or approved textbooks and [the learning of students] all depends on individual teaching methods... I don't think that's safe," she said.

"So if you ask me, the problem didn't just come up. It has been problematic from day one."

She also denied that the government was laying the blame for last year's unrest on Liberal Studies, saying authorities had good reasons to revamp the subject from the perspective of education quality.

But a student surnamed Lam, who called into the programme, asked whether the bureau would now politically screen Liberal Subject textbooks.

He also told the CE that he didn't feel his teachers had been biased when teaching the subject, having used different textbooks on a topic like how "overseas newspapers strive to be balanced".

But Lam begged to differ with the student.

"There has been a long-standing mechanism over the assessment of textbooks...and there have been experts involved."

"Sorry though, I don't think foreign media reports can be subjective and fair, especially those looking at Hong Kong. Recently, on these political matters, I think they have strong stance in their reports... and exactly because of this, the image of the SAR has been hurt," she replied.

The CE also denied the bureau's move was political and that it overrode the professional opinion of teachers. She said the direction of the revamp was in line with a report by the Task Force on Review of School Curriculum.