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Proper identity key to HK's integration into nation

By CHEN ZIMO in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-29 07:57
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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Wednesday that without a proper sense of national identity and national education among the public, many favorable policies to help Hong Kong to integrate into the mainland will be rendered useless and ineffective.

Lam, speaking at a question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council, highlighted the role of national education as a prerequisite for the sustainable development of Hong Kong. She stressed the special administrative region government's determination to overcome its past inadequacies on the issue.

Hong Kong has benefited from a number of national and regional policies, Lam said, such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and closer financial connectivity with the Chinese mainland. These favorable policies for Hong Kong will "go to waste" if the next generations lack a proper sense of national identity or fail to endorse the Hong Kong SAR's integration into the overall development of the country, she added.

She told the legislature that Hong Kong is now on track to strengthen national education "on all fronts",starting with an increased emphasis in schools this year on elements related to the nation.

For example, "the nation" will be one of the three themes of the core content of the curriculum on Citizenship and Social Development, a revised and updated version of Liberal Studies to be launched in September, Lam said. The other two themes of the course are Hong Kong and "the contemporary world".

In a written response to questions by a legislator, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the Education Bureau would move to organize training courses, workshops and seminars to improve the teaching skills of teachers and school management on the Constitution and the Basic Law, national education as well as national security education.

Since February, the department has issued several circulars to all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, giving detailed advice on national education from regular flag-raising ceremonies to including national security elements in the curriculum of at least eleven school subjects.

Yeung stressed that it was the responsibility of school management to monitor the quality of teaching and learning, including prohibiting teachers from indoctrinating students with "biased or unsubstantiated information". Such cases have been reported by parents in Hong Kong in recent years, causing widespread anger and concerns in the community. A primary school teacher had his license revoked in September after being caught promoting separatism in his class.

Starting Wednesday, a daily television program, Get to Know the Election Committee Subsectors, hosted by Lam, is being shown on television and the internet at 6:30 pm. In the program, she talks with representatives of various sectors of the Election Committee, which is tasked with picking the city's top leader, about ongoing electoral improvements. The amendments are being discussed by the city's legislature.

On Wednesday's show, Wong Yuk-shan, a veteran educator and deputy to the National People's Congress, said that the delegates of several national political organs-part of the new sector being included in the reconstructed Election Committee-could help enhance Hong Kong people's understanding of the latest strategies and policies of the country.

The other guest, Bunny Chan Chung-bun, president of the 300,000-member Kowloon Federation of Associations, said that grassroots representatives from the new subsector could improve communication between the government and the community in tackling social problems.

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