2011．第39卷第12期（Vol. 39 Nos. 12）．pp. 124
Critique of National Education Discourse in the HKSAR
The Curriculum Development Council issued the Chinese version of Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 6): Consultation Draft in May 2011. This article records the formal submission of the author to the consultation. It consists of five sections: (a) Numbers of fallacies and misunderstandings about the conceptions of national education have emerged from the discourse initiated by the Consultation Draft. As a serving educator of the HKSAR, I feel obliged to put forth my criticism to these educationally harmful conceptions. It attempts to rescue the policy discourse on national education in the HKSAR from the siege by politicians and partisans’ rhetorics and to recourse the discourse back to the purview of educational enquiry. (b) One of the serious faults found in the curriculum content stipulated in the Consultation Draft is the conflation of institutional contexts essential to the national identity of Hong Kong citizens, namely the state, nation and nation-state. As a result, the curriculum content proposed by the Consultation Draft is in total discordance with the historical, national and socio-cultural contexts of the HKSAR. (c) Another fault found in the proposed curriculum content is the misplacement of the national identity of Hong Kong citizens in empirically inappropriate conceptual perspectives. As a result, the national identity to be nurtured through the proposed curriculum may not only be incongruent with the Chinese nationality, which has been characterized by Professor Fei Xiaotong as “pattern of diversity and unity,” but may also elicit contradictions or even conflicts in the multicultural context of Hong Kong as an international metropolitan. (d) Apart from the faults found in curriculum content, serious faults can also be found in the pedagogical approach proposed by the Consultation Draft. First, the teaching objective of the pedagogical approach has been identified as to inculcate “positive values” and “desirable national qualities” among Hong Kong school children. Such objective however could only prepare students up to the “conventional level” of moral development in Lawrence Kohlberg’s conception. It has fallen short of elevating them to the “post-conventional level” of moral development. Second, the proposed pedagogical approach has been defined in the Consultation Draft as the “passion-based” model. Accordingly, the major effort of the model is to “trigger” students’ “passion” and “emotion.” Imagine if future citizens of the HKSAR are all passion-prone and/or emotion-prone in handling ethnic, national and international-political issues in the ever-growing globalizing context, what would happen to the political ecology of Hong Kong as an international metropolitan? (e) Accordingly, the article will conclude with a series of suggestions in rectifying the aforementioned faults found in the Consultation Draft.
Keywords: national education; nation-state; national identity