CDT previously reported on protests in Hong Kong against a planned curriculum change and on the possibility of the plans being scrapped due to mounting protests. Reuters reports Hong Kong is now backing down from the education plan:
The decision by the island’s pro-China Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to make the curriculum voluntary for schools came a day before elections for just over half the seats of Hong Kong’s 70-seat legislature.
“We don’t want the recent controversy to affect the operations of schools, nor do we want to see the harmony of the education environment to be affected,” said Leung, noting the move was a “major policy amendment”.
“They have made a substantive concession,” said Joseph Wong, a former senior government official and political scientist.
“One may say it’s too late, but better late than never. I think it will defuse the issue, maybe not entirely, but at least it will remove a lot of the tensions … This is a great day for Hong Kong’s civil society.”
According to the Associated Press, schools can decide on whether or not they will offer the class:
Hong Kong officials backed down Saturday on plans to make students take Chinese patriotism classes following a week of protests in the former British colony sparked by fears of pro-Beijing “brainwashing.”
The semiautonomous Chinese city’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, said it would be up to schools to decide whether to hold the classes. They were to have become a mandatory subject in 2015 after a three-year voluntary period.
According to curriculum guidelines, students would learn in the classes about China’s political leaders, the contributions they have made and the difficulties and challenges they face. They would also learn how to “speak cautiously,” practice self-discipline and get along well with others in a rational and respectful way.
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