National education is a subject that aims to increase the national identity of students and citizens in Hong Kong. There are several steps to help fulfill this subject's aims. As it is believed to have benefits to the students in studying as well as helping critical thinking. There are some, however, some people see the content of this subject is brain-washing which hinders students to learn the real history of China, so that this subject still remains as the non-core subject in the primary schools or secondary schools. In this essay, both the advantages and disadvantages of national education in Hong Kong will be examined before drawing a conclusion based on the giving evidence.
Moral and national education (MNE) is a school curriculum proposed by the Education Bureau of Hong Kong in 2012. Hong Kong government wanted to promote national education in both primary schools and secondary schools. There are several advantages while promoting national education for students. One of the benefits is helping students to increase the national identity. Consultation on Moral and National Education Curriculum (2011) has reported that one of the curriculums aims is to facilitate identity-building through developing affection for the country, this can help increase the national identity to students.
Since the promotion of nation to Hong Kong students were not enough in their studying stages in the government thought, therefore the government propose this subject to students as well as the citizens to help them have a more accurate and clear mind of the nation which can help recognize the identity as well as raising students’ recognition and sense of belonging towards their family, society, nation and the world and help them to become responsible family members, citizens and nationals (Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide Primary 1 to Secondary 6 , 2011).
As well as increase the national identity, helping students to develop moral qualities and a positive attitude is also the other advantages of promoting national education. In the curriculum of the national education, students could have more time for critical thinking. According to Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide Primary 1 to Secondary 6 (2011)
”The curriculum aims cover values and attitudes, knowledge and skills, and focus on: development of moral qualities, leading a meaning life, growth in knowledge, judging reasonably and being responsible and rational.” This can help students strengthen their moral qualities in preserving Chinese virtues, develop an affection for the country and help students develop positive values and attitudes. What is more, when students having their lesson of this subject, they may learn how to develop a positive and optimistic attitude (Education Bureau of Hong Kong [EBHK], 2002).This can help students having a better manage of their study and help the students to relieve their study pressure.
Apart from the above advantages, there are also some disadvantages in promoting national education. According to the curriculum of this subject, some history of China had been cancelled or changed. The "China Model National Conditions Teaching Manual" which is the model textbook of the National Education was found to be biased towards the Communist of China and the so-called “China Model” (Oriental Daily, [13 July, 2012]).The teaching manual called the Communist Party an "advanced, selfless and united ruling group, while denouncing Democratic and Republican Parties of the United States as a "fierce inter-party rivalry that makes the people suffer".
Mok (2012) points out that the members of Scholar and Civil Alliance against the National Education against the brainwashing national education curriculum before school commences as most of the content were pretended to be brainwashing to both primary and secondary schools students. Parents thought that this may hinder students to learn the truth of their nation and change their minds when they learned. Thus, some of the parents were afraid their children would learn the wrong history and bad manner in this course without gaining any benefits.
What is worse, adding one more subject in the core-subjects to the primary and secondary schools students may increase the workload of the students and may increase their study pressures. There are different focuses in this subject for different forms of students. Education Bureau of Hong Kong (EBHK, 2002) mentions the moral and national education covers four Key Stages from P1 to S6 across primary and secondary levels.
Each Key Stage comprises five domains including personal, family, social, national and global, with a view to promote the development of positive values and attitudes as well as identity-building in students. This reveals that students need to learn one more subject in their primary and secondary school lives. This will increase their workload and more study pressure will be released.
It is clear that there are both advantages and disadvantages in proposing National Education. Proposing National Education can increase the nation identity to students as well as citizens which help them to be responsible national in nations. Furthermore, this can help students to develop moral qualities and a positive attitude. Nevertheless, there are several disadvantages while proposing this subject. The content of this subject has not cover all the truth of China to students and this may brain washing the students and this may increase the workload of the students. Thus, national education still remain the non-core subject in schools.
Taking these arguments into consideration, National Education can increase the nation identity to the citizens and help students foster the positive attitude. However, these benefits can only be realized through proper teaching materials, ensuring that the teacher, students and subject are focus on the direct content and not just brainwashing the students. Students today are often have high study pressures they can release their stress when they having appropriate courses in National Education. No matter this subject would be proposed or not, there are both pros and cons to the students. More details of this subject should be consulted and examined by both Hong Kong government and citizens.