On November 2, the Education University of Hong Kong announced that it would introduce new compulsory National Security and legal education courses and compulsory courses on strengthening teacher ethics in the next two academic years.

National Security and Legal Education Course

For all undergraduate students, starting from the 2025-26 academic year, a new compulsory subject, “National Security and Legal Education”, will be added, although there is already a required general national security course. The program includes the study of the Constitution, the Basic Law, the National Security Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other related laws as one of the graduation requirements.

The Hong Kong University of Education announced in September 2021 that national security law and national security education would be included in the compulsory General Education course and would be taught through seminars and lectures. Credit to: Sarah LU

The new courses are responsible for EdUHK’s new National Security and Legal Education Centre. “Unlike law faculties of other universities, the university would design the teaching materials to teach mainly general legal knowledge”. Failure to pass the examination will result in the need to re-take the examination or repeat the programme, the Director of the Centre, Professor Minkang Gu, said in a press briefing.

Ros Lau is a Year 1 EdUHK student studying Heritage Education and Arts Management. As the class of students most directly affected by the new curriculum, Ros said,

“It is a necessary course and a government requirement. I will still choose to take it. Although it will be an extra burden on my coursework to some extent, it will also help me find a job.”

Students of The Hong Kong Institute of Education will have to face new study programme arrangements, which may increase their academic burden to a certain extent. Credit to: Sarah LU
Guideline of being a teacher

Starting from the 2024-25 academic year, students majoring in the Bachelor of Education programme will be required to take two new compulsory subjects related to professional conduct and ethics of teachers to ensure that they understand the “Guidelines on Teachers’ Professional Conduct” introduced by the Education Bureau (EDB) earlier on. These two subjects will teach students about the behaviours that teachers’ should’ and ‘should not’ do.

The President of the Education Univerisity of Hong Kong (EdUHK), Professor LEE, Chi Kin John, said in an interview with local media Ming Pao,

“I hope that EdUHK students will have “quality assurance”, and I hope that the students will not decide to take up the teaching profession because of good pay and job stability, but rather devote themselves to the profession “for the sake of the next generation” for life.”

He also revealed that principals or teachers of placement schools would be invited to scrutinise students’ knowledge of the Guidelines.

Polly is a final year student in EdUHK and studies in Primary Mathematics Education. Although she is about to graduate and will not be affected by the reform, she is still concerned about the effectiveness of those new courses. “I don’t think including courses on national security law at the undergraduate level is helpful. In a way, it can be described as a kind of brainwashing.”

As early as 2021, eight universities in Hong Kong have announced, one after another, that they will implement national security education in the new academic year. All eight universities have introduced 2022 compulsory general studies programmes involving national security education, which will be included in the graduation requirements, or students will be required to pass an examination. The Hong Kong University of Education is the first university to produce its own teaching materials and offer separate national security and legal education subjects.

EdUHK has been releasing teaching materials on national security law for the past two years. They are also planning to set up a National Security and Legal Education Centre to take charge of the new courses. Credit to: EdUHK Website

Beginning with the 2025 academic year, all education majors enrolled will be required to undergo an obligatory immersion program on the mainland, which may include cross-border trips, exchanges, or credit-bearing internships. In an interview with SCMP, May Cheng May-hung, the university’s vice president for academic affairs, said this would extend students’ horizons and help them comprehend the most recent advancements in the area.

Students studied in education programmes are required to travel to the Mainland for study, including exchange and internships. Credit to: Sarah LU

Featured Image: The Education University of Hong Kong. Credit to LU Yiting, Sarah

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