Education Secretary Eddie Ng (2nd left) says the new Basic Law classes aren’t “national education” but will give young people a better understanding of the country. Photo: RTHK
New curriculum guidelines on how secondary schools must boost teaching of the Basic Law were published on Thursday, with Education Secretary Eddie Ng saying the lessons will compliment but not replace any “national education” taught in the city.
Under the revised Secondary Education Curriculum Guide, students from form one to form three will take 51 hours of Basic Law-related courses over that three-year period, in Chinese History, Life and Society, History and Geography.
Schools that do not offer Life and Society courses will have to adopt an independent 15-hour “Constitution and the Basic Law” module instead.
Speaking during a visit to Beijing, the education secretary said the new requirements will help young people better understand the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
According to the document, the relationship between Beijing and the SAR is similar to that of a school principal and his or her form tutors. The principal has the right to pick the correct people to serve as form tutors, to appraise their performance, and to authorise them to perform certain duties.
Ng was asked by reporters whether the lessons would form the basis of new national education curriculum for schools.
Despite plans for such lessons being shelved in 2012 after widespread opposition, Ng said many schools already have elements of national education for their students and while the new Basic Law lessons will not amount to national education, they will compliment it.
When asked if teachers could discuss the idea of Hong Kong independence in class, Ng said the notion is illegal, and must be carefully dealt with.
Schools will have to start following the new lesson requirements within the next three to six years.