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China anger over new schools plan: The Church of England Newspaper, August 12, 2012 p 5 August 16, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Education, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui.
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Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong last week in protest to a government plan to introduce a “Chinese Model National Conditions Teaching Manual” for the territory’s schools that critics charge whitewashes the crimes of the Communist regime.

Organisers of the march from Victoria Park to the government education department offices stated 90,000 parents, children, teachers and concerned residents of Hong Kong took part in the demonstration chanting slogans denouncing “brainwashing” and “thought control”.

Hong Kong’s Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran and Roman Catholic parochial schools have vowed not to use the “patriotic education” programme, which they say was adopted by the government of the outgoing pro-Beijing Chief executive Donald Tsang without public consultation or review by the legislative council.

The manual was prepared by the Hong Kong Patriotic Education Services Centre organized by the 26,000-member Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers – a teacher’s alliance run by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong political party with the closest ties to the mainland’s communist government. The Tsang administration gave HK$13 million to the Centre to produce the booklet.

The 32-page booklet extols the virtues of the mainland government and one-party state. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is described as “progressive, selfless and united” in contrast to the two-party American and multi-party European political systems. While short references are made to recent mainland political and economic scandals there is no mention of the 10-year Cultural Revolution, the 1989 Tiananmen massacre or state-induced famines of the Maoist era.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union, which represents the majority of teachers in the territory with a membership of 80,000, called upon the government to drop the patriotic education programme. Teachers’ Union chairman Fung Wai-wah said the government “should not wait until students refuse to show up in class before it reviews the course,” the Hong Kong press reported.

Private Schools are not required to use the curriculum. The state-aided Anglican, Lutheran and Catholic parochial schools – which comprise a third of the territory’s schools — have declined to use the materials, while Taoist and Muslims schools will join secular state schools in using the materials. Schools were offered $530,000 grants for implementation of the curriculum, which will become mandatory for primary schools in 2015 and for secondary schools four years later.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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