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    » 07/19/2012, 00.00

    HONG KONG

    Catholic schools against Beijing's 'national education'



    Card Tong writes to school principals and supervisors, urging step-by-step action. Assistant to Episcopal education delegate says Catholic schools should not introduce the subject until a diocesan taskforce looks into it. At the same time, "we don't necessarily have to use" government money "even if it is given".

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Catholic schools will not heed the government's invitation to introduce the national education course in its schools. Antony Ip Sing-piu, an assistant to the Episcopal delegate for education, said yesterday that Catholic schools would not introduce the subject "the way it has been proposed" until a clear set of objectives was drawn up by a recently formed diocesan taskforce looking into the subject.

    Ip said that, for now, Catholic schools would not use the HK0,000 (US$ 68,000) offered by the government to schools that introduced the subject.

    "We are responsible to parents and students," he explained, and "we don't necessarily have to use it [the funding] even if it is given".

    Recently, Ip said, Cardinal John Tong-hon wrote a letter to Hong Kong Catholic school principals and supervisors stating that national education should be introduced to Catholic classrooms step by step.

    According to the reform, which was proposed in 2002 and adopted in 2004, each publicly-funded school has to set up an incorporated management committee (IMC) that would included parents' elected representatives, alumni and government appointees. They would run the school.

    Although 60 per cent of IMC members would be picked by a school's sponsoring body, Christian groups are afraid that education would be politicised, and that sooner or later the government would choose the curricula, elbowing out sponsoring bodies.

    On top of that, the reform calls for all Hong Kong schools, primary and up, to include unspecified national education course as a separate subject.

    At an education forum in the former British colony last year, Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, dismissed the course as brain washing. "What do they expect?" he asked, "that we approve the actions of the Communist party?"

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    See also

    09/10/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    End to Hong Kong's 'national education,' a victory for civil society
    Hong Kong's chief executive shelves Beijing-imposed curriculum. For Catholic Social Communications Office director, "This is the last stage in the matter. Led by highly mobilised youth, the people won."

    11/12/2006 HONG KONG
    Card. Zen: “Government is heartless, disrespectful of Church regarding schools”
    The bishop of Hong Kong yesterday declared another legal battle against the 2004 Education Ordinance that paves the way for state interference in the running of private schools. The government has responded by describing the cardinal “an old man, who should not grumble so much."

    28/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Government gives in and drops national education
    Government-appointed commission sends course glorifying China's success without mentioning its problems back to the government. Schools should decide what to teach students. This is a victory for the diocese and Cardinal Zen, who led the protest movement against the reform plan.

    06/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    National education in Hong Kong: protests continue, Chief Executive won’t be at ASEAN
    While the demonstrations against the reform entering a seventh consecutive day, Leung Chun-ying cancels his participation at the summit in Vladivostok. New hunger strikes , government proposal’s for reform within “two to three days”.

    29/08/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong teachers vow to fight against brainwashing imposed by Beijing
    The Territory is preparing for a new march against the school reform imposed by the communist government, which obliges classes of "national education". Civil society joins the battle first launched 10 years ago by the Catholic Church and say they are ready to resist this new abuse.



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