National education: some propaganda

When we first arrived a month (!) ago, the big item in the news was the opposition to the Moral, Civic, and National Education curriculum that was being proposed for Hong Kong. The real opposition was to the “National” part and to the possible implications. Here’s the two-sentence summary of the new curriculum:

Moral, Civic and National Education is an essential element of whole-person education which aims at fostering students’ positive values and attitudes through the school curriculum and the provision of diversified learning experiences. It also develops students’ ability to analyse and judge issues relating to personal, family, social, national and global issues at different developmental stages, and enhances their willingness to make commitment and contribution.

There’s a lot there to give a reader pause. Like, students’ positive attitudes towards what? What might a good analysis and judgment of a national issue look like? Hong Kongers saw this as a ploy by China to inculcate more, well, nationalist sentiments in Hong Kong (which, as I’ve noted ad nauseam, views itself as being very distinct and different from mainland China).

Now it appears that the whole thing has been scrapped. (I’m linking to the coverage in China Daily, which tends to be much more pro-Beijing than, say, the South China Morning Post.)

But here’s a little artifact from the protests, which a colleague gave me.

The caption reads “We don’t want red education.”


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