Wednesday, September 05, 2012

National Education (國民教育科) 2

In the current debate on the subject on Moral and National Education, the government claims that many people confuse the teaching manual 中國模式國情專題教學手冊  with the guidelines 德育及國民教育科課程指引.  It claims that the teaching manual (published by a pro-communist organization) may indeed have some problems, but it is just reference material that teachers may choose to use, or not.  Hence we should not focus on the teaching manual.  On the other hand, the official curriculum guide (published by the Education Bureau) is fine, and we should support it.  I do not agree.

First of all, the government gave the funding to the organization to produce the teaching manual, which is essentially communist propaganda. Obviously the government should ensure that such material is suitable for use by schools.  Otherwise the government is not doing its job responsibly.  After all, the funding comes from our taxes.  It is our money.  We have a right to demand that the money be spent wisely, for the benefit of our society.  If the government uses our money to produce something that is blatantly biased, it is not just wasteful, it is also doing harm to our society, and it enriches certain organization and people unfairly.  I object strongly to the government using my money to harm me and my family.

Secondly, the curriculum guide is also obviously biased.  As I explained in the previous post, it presents a predominantly positive view of the country.  I had pointed out some of the deficiencies in the previous post, after reading the complete guide rather carefully.  It claims to encourage balanced and critical examination of the issues.  But in reality, it does not ask hard, critical questions.  It essentially asks us to love the country without questions.  That I cannot do.  I want my children to love their country, but I want them to be rational and clear-headed above all.

The government claims that a country is entitled to encourage patriotism and China is no different.  But blind and unquestioning patriotism is very dangerous, and can easily turn into destructive extremism.  That is amply exemplified in some of the reactions to the Diaoyutai problem. 

Furthermore, the authoritarian Chinese political system is not yet such a desirable system and the national leaders, including Deng Xiao Peng, admitted it.  Otherwise there is no need to guarantee that the socialist system will not be practiced in Hong Kong and the way of life will not be changed for 50 years.  We would be cheating our children if we tell our children to love the country unconditionally.

The way forward is not to tell Hong Kong students only the good side of the country.  Rather, we should face the reality honestly, identify the problems faced by the country, and to work together to solve those problems.  Pretending that there is no problem, or ignoring the problems will not make the problems go away. 

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