Writers on colonial education have generally assumed that colonial curricula were tools of metropolitan political and cultural 'hegemony'. In particular, it is alleged that colonial history curricula neglected or ignored the histories of indigenous populations. Through analysing the case of Chinese History in Hong Kong, this article demonstrates that these assumptions are highly misleading. Far from exercising 'hegemonical' authority over the school curriculum, the colonial government was to a large extent the prisoner of its local collaborators. For reasons of political as well as educational expediency, in the post-war years the government initiated a conservative Chinese History curriculum to be taught alongside the separate subject of 'History'. Subsequently, a strong Chinese History subject community evolved, who by appealing to nationalist sentiment were able to resist successfully the calls for reform. As a result, efforts by both the colonial and post-colonial administrations to resolve the anomaly of having two history subjects have proved fruitless.
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