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Church says no to revised school subject
When civic turns to national, educators cry foulA kindergarten teacher explains the meaning of Chinese national flag to students
- ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong
- September 21, 2011
The diocesan Catholic Education Office, which is Hong Kongâ€™s largest school authority, has been especially critical, describing MNE as â€śgoing backwardsâ€ť and expressing concerns over what it calls the â€śhard-sellingâ€ť of patriotism.
The plan is currently being scrutinized after a four-month public consultation. In a written statement to the assessors, in which it openly disagreed with the proposal, â€śenhancing national quality is an important requirement of studentsâ€™ holistic development. But this so-called national quality seems to involve a blind and absolute support for the country.â€ť
â€śPatriotism is only one of the values. The Catholic Church regards respect for human dignity, pursuit for meaning in life, holiness and transcendence as values that are more fundamental,â€ť it continued.
The new subject would replace the existing Moral and Civic Education module, which has been in use since 2001. Many schools currently integrate moral and civic education topics into their regular subjects and activities.
But if the new proposal is passed, MNE will be taught as a separate subject once or twice a week, starting next year. It would aim to develop studentsâ€™ positive values and attitudes to personal, family, social and national life.
The Education Officeâ€™s Francis Chan Nai-kwok expressed a further worry that Catholic schools might have to reduce Religious Education classes to make room for MNE, as school timetables are usually very tight.
One Catholic primary school teacher added the opinion that â€ślocal schools are already teaching students to love our country. I think nurturing them with critical thinking on Chinaâ€™s current affairs is more important.â€ť
As the largest school-sponsoring body in Hong Kong, the Catholic Church runs run 111 primary and 87 secondary schools, with 154,000 students, out of 572 primary and 533 secondary schools in the territory.
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Catholic schools agree to reduce classes