Hong Kong will not use performance goals to determine the success of patriotic education or punish schools and teachers considered to be delivering it poorly, a minister has said.
Secretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin on Sunday said authorities would leave it up to schools to evaluate their own performance.
“We will not use exams to assess how teachers conduct their classrooms,” said Choi on a television show, noting that at present there was no need to establish key performance indicators or implement additional assessments to ensure the quality of teaching.
“We also don’t see the necessary relation between teaching quality and whether an oath [to pledge allegiance] is taken,” she said, adding schools should bear the responsibility of conducting their own review of delivering patriotic education.
Choi made the remarks after last month’s policy address announced the general studies subject in primary schools would be replaced by a humanities curriculum that placed a large focus on patriotic education.
She said the Education Bureau would instead focus more on professional areas, such as collaborative lesson planning, research on teaching approaches and school-based support, to work “hand-in-hand” with teachers to boost patriotism.
A government source earlier told the Post that the humanities curriculum would focus on the country’s geography, history, latest developments and culture to boost the awareness of national identity among students. It will be introduced in the 2025-26 academic year.
Separately in another televised programme on the same day, Choi said no punitive measures would be used on schools or teachers not delivering patriotic education well.
At present, under a new national law on patriotic education, any responsible person who does not perform the duty of patriotic education according to the law will face punishment. But the law does not specify what the consequences are.
“In Hong Kong, we have the Guidelines on Teachers’ Professional Conduct, as well as other laws and regulations, such as the national security law and the national anthem law, which have already covered relevant requirements,” Choi said.
“And I think schools and teachers in Hong Kong are very clear about the requirements.”
The education chief said the bureau would not rule out the possibility of inviting high-ranking government figures, such as Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, and Beijing officials to conduct national security classes in local schools.
In October, the nation’s top legislative body the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee passed the new national law on patriotic education, which laid down goals to boost patriotism across the country.
The law will come into effect on January 1 next year and cover people in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as Chinese nationals overseas.
But it will not be added to Annex III of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which means the city’s government will not be asked to enact local legislation on it.
Besides the curriculum change, the Hong Kong government also announced it would set up a new coordination unit to promote patriotic education.