Schooling, politics and the construction of identity in Hong Kong: the 2012 ‘Moral and National Education’ crisis in historical context

Paul Morris, Edward Vickers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since Hong Kong’s retrocession, the government has endeavoured to strengthen local citizens’ identification with the People’s Republic of China – a project that acquired new impetus with the 2010 decision to introduce ‘Moral and National Education’ (MNE) as a compulsory school subject. In the face of strong local opposition, this policy was withdrawn in 2012, and implementation of MNE made optional. This article seeks to elucidate the background to the MNE controversy of 2012 by locating the emergence of a distinctive Hong Kong identity in its historical context, and analysing successive official attempts (before and after the 1997 retrocession) to use schooling for purposes of political socialisation. We argue that the school curriculum has projected and reflected a dual sense of identity: a ‘Chineseness’ located mainly in ethno-cultural qualities, and a ‘Hongkongeseness’ rooted in civic attributes. While reinforced by schooling, local civic consciousness has been intimately related to a tradition of public activism strongly evident since the 1970s, and further strengthened post-1997.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-326
Number of pages22
JournalComparative Education
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2015

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Hong Kong
politics
political socialization
education
school
consciousness
opposition
citizen
curriculum
China

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

Cite this

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