Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Sunday dismissed suggestions that her administration is trying to root out students who took part in last year's anti-government protests by sending them on field trips to the mainland as part of a sweeping revamp of the Liberal Studies curriculum
The overhaul of the controversial subject – which the pro-Beijing camp blames for radicalising the city's youth – will see more emphasis on the country's development, the constitution, the Basic Law and the rule of law.
The grading system will be completely different, and it'll even get a new name. Part of the changes include field trips to the mainland – a suggestion that critics say may be aimed at getting students who were involved in last year's protests arrested once they cross the border.
But Lam said that is just not the case, and no one will be forced to go on such trips.
“The field trip to the mainland is to help students get a grasp on the latest development of our country… it definitely is not aimed at finding out students who have opposed the government. Our principle is to protect our students,” she said.
The education chief Kevin Yeung had earlier said it'll be up to schools whether participation in these tours will count towards their grades.
As part of the revamp, all teaching materials used for the liberal studies curriculum will be vetted by the government in future, and officials have said current events with ongoing developments shouldn’t be debated.
Carrie Lam told a TVB programme that teachers and students can still discuss current affairs during classes, but there must be a basis for such discussions.
For example, teachers should talk about the rule of law and the importance of obeying the law, when they discuss events of civil disobedience, she said.
The Chief Executive also stressed that the government wasn't ordered by Beijing to revamp the subject, and the changes are only being made in response to concerns from society.
She said education matters are an internal matter for Hong Kong.
Mainland field trips not traps for kids: Carrie Lam
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