The Future of Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Curriculum as an Instrument of Liberation or Repression: A Hong Kong Case Study

Stephen Bolton, English Language Centre, City University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)


Recently, concern has been expressed in Hong Kong about renewed attempts to introduce a "Moral, Civic and National Education" strand into the secondary school curriculum. Some maintain that this is, in fact, a disguised attempt to introduce pro-Beijing ideology into Hong Kong classrooms, in direct contravention of internationally recognised agreements made during the lead-up to the return of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Conversely, some pro-Establishment figures have expressed the view that the existing Liberal Studies curriculum was responsible for the Umbrella Revolution which occurred in the autumn of 2014. This paper draws on Paulo Freire's "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed", works by a number of American educational theorists, online commentary from Hong Kong citizens, local media reports and interviews with Hong Kong educators and university students, including active participants in pro-democracy protests, and suggests parallels with educational initiatives with political ramifications in other countries worldwide.

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