The Joint Statement of Tertiary Institutions in Hong Kong – Strike for Withdrawal of National Education – Let College Students Spearhead

It has been long since the local community opposed to the introduction of the National Education subject. Despite the divergent views expressed so far, the general consensus is clear: the subject must be withdrawn immediately. On 4 Sept, CY Leung pointed out that a premise of negotiation was that the subject not be withdrawn. This indicates the government simply ignores our opposition and demand. Well aware of our social responsibility, we college students decided to take the lead to unite ourselves and go on strike on 11 Sept, supporting future student strikes in primary and secondary schools. We demand that the government stop misleading the public and the subject be withdrawn immediately. Our statement is as follows:

Review Shows the Subject is Defective

Primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions are starting a new school year one after another, while oppositional movement against the introduction of the National Education subject has never stopped. So far, the Education Bureau has claimed that within the three-year “introductory period”, consultation and revision was possible on the premise that the subject not be withdrawn. The subject itself, however, is intrinsically defective, and must hence be cancelled.

First, the curriculum conveys fundamentally erroneous ideas about basic terms such as “nation”, “country” and “citizen”. Second, the so-called national education already exists in the current curriculum and it is unnecessary to launch a new subject. Moreover, there are obvious overlaps of learning aims between Liberal Studies and the National Education subject, leaving the subject’s purpose and usefulness questionable. Third, the concept of identity and the like are too complex for primary and junior secondary students, who, without sufficient independent and critical thinking, may be brainwashed under forced indoctrination. Surprisingly, history is made fragmented in the teaching of the subject. All the above reveal that the subject is completely wrong and worthless.

Government’s Insistence Makes its Political Intention Blatant

Considering all the above, the community has opposed to the subject’s launch for over two years. Various organizations have expressed their opposition in different ways, and even staged a hunger strike recently. To launch the subject, the government has buried its conscience and turned a blind eye to public opinion. Conspicuously, it has its political intention. Its insistence leads us to associate the issue to the “loss of control” of Liberal Studies, which may have prompted the Leung administration to complete four major political assignments as soon as possible, which are allegedly from Beijing. The real aim of education is to cultivate virtues and values and help us develop independent thinking and ability to tell right from wrong. This also explains why education is a constant battleground for all governments and organizations—it is a battleground for ideologies. We never want to see our future generations, vulnerable to indoctrination, suffer such shockingly erroneous education. To set the record straight, therefore, we call for an immediate withdrawal of the National Education subject.

Protect Future GenerationsStrike to Support Strikes

Having experienced primary and secondary education, we college students understand very well the profound impact it could exert on students. Unfortunately, despite a series of anti-National Education subject actions, the government remains unmoved. We decided to intensify our actions—take the lead to stage student strikes—so as to increase pressure on the government to cancel the subject at once. We also hope parents of primary and secondary students as well as the general public could recognize college students’ ability to mobilize enough manpower to support strikes in primary and secondary schools. Our strike this time is different from those led solely by Students’ Unions; it is jointly organized by Students’ Unions and student associations of various higher education institutions to demonstrate college students’ solidarity. We pledge here our support for and participation in future strikes in primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutes with a view to showing our determination to oppose the National Education subject and protecting our future generations.

Last but not least, we would like to reiterate the following:

1. The government must withdraw the National Education subject immediately;

2. College students would take the lead to stage student strikes and stand united against the National Education subject;

3. We will fully support all strikes in primary and secondary schools;

4. To demonstrate our determination and support for student strikes, we would carry out the first college student strike and swearing-in ceremony on 11 Sept; and

5. We call for support and participation of college staff members.

 

Hong Kong Federation of Students

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