Interview with Yang Runxiong, Director of the Hong Kong Bureau of Education: Students should be cultivated from an early age to recognize their national identity

  [Global Times reporter Zhao Juehui] Since the first anniversary of the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the chaos in Hong Kong has achieved a major turning point, and the order of governance has been restored.

At the same time, in accordance with relevant provisions of the Hong Kong National Security Law, Hong Kong's national security education is also continuing to advance on campus.

In an exclusive interview with a reporter from the Global Times, the Director of the Hong Kong Education Bureau, Yang Runxiong, said that the advancement of National Security Education in Hong Kong provides an opportunity for the education sector to re-orientate. In the future, more attention will be paid to education on values ​​including national identity and national security .

  Combination of school curriculum and national security

  The Hong Kong National Security Law, which was formally implemented on June 30, 2020, clearly stipulates that the SAR should conduct national security education through schools, social organizations, media, and the Internet, so as to raise the awareness of national security and law-abiding by residents of the SAR.

Yang Runxiong, an official in charge of education in Hong Kong, mentioned in an exclusive interview with the Global Times reporter via a video link that statistics show that among the 10,000 arrested in the "Regulations Amendment Disturbance", the proportion of young people including students is about 40% is a relatively large proportion.

Yang Runxiong said that in the past year or so, the Education Bureau has been working hard to promote schools to incorporate the concept of national security into school education and management.

  In February of this year, the Education Bureau issued a notice entitled "National Security: Maintaining a Safe Learning Environment and Cultivating Good Citizens", covering various aspects of school administration, personnel management and staff training, learning and teaching, student training and support, and home-school cooperation. Provide more detailed guidelines and reference documents.

In addition, the Education Bureau has successively announced the "Hong Kong National Security Education Curriculum Framework" and 15 subjects of the National Security Education Curriculum Framework, so that schools can understand how to organically integrate different areas of national security through the content of various subjects.

  In addition, since the new school year in September this year, the subject of social criticism has also been renamed as the subject of citizenship and social development. It has been changed from "Hong Kong under'one country, two systems'", "country since reform and opening up", and "interconnected contemporary world". "Composed of 3 themes.

Yang Runxiong said that while relevant courses improve students' knowledge level, another important purpose is to cultivate students' national identity.

National security education is to enable students to understand related concepts, thereby generating a sense of responsibility of "I should maintain national security".

 Strengthen the training of teachers

  To promote the education of national security law, first of all, the training of teachers is the top priority.

It is reported that the Hong Kong Education Bureau has arranged comprehensive and systematic national security education teacher training courses for all schools in Hong Kong. So far, more than 8,000 primary and secondary school teachers have participated.

  Yang Runxiong said that the concept of national security was rarely mentioned in Hong Kong in the past, and it is also a new concept for teachers.

In order for students to establish the concept of national security, the first step is to let teachers understand the meaning of national security.

Starting from this school year, the Education Bureau has required teachers to take courses on the Constitution, the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s National Security Law, and teachers’ professional ethics.

  According to Yang Runxiong, for newly recruited teachers, the Education Bureau requires them to go to the mainland for three to four days of exchanges, and through exchanges with inland primary and secondary school teachers, visits to enterprises or some cultural projects, they have a more comprehensive understanding of the country.

  Yang Runxiong said that although the plan has not been implemented in the past year due to the epidemic, it is believed that it will be implemented immediately after customs clearance with the mainland. This is very important for about 1,000 new teachers every year.

Yang Runxiong revealed that the initial idea is to hope that teachers will go to Beijing, Shanghai, and possibly the Greater Bay Area for exchanges.

  To help Hong Kong carry out national security education, the Ministry of Education previously presented a batch of "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region National Security Law Readers" to elementary and middle school teachers. Starting this month, this reader has been distributed to all kindergartens that offer local courses in batches.

  "When should we start national security education? Kindergarten students are so young, how can they talk to them about law and national security?" Yang Runxiong said that national security is based on the identification of national identity. Based on national education, it should be started from a very young age. Cultivate students' knowledge of the country, Chinese culture and national identity.

Yang Runxiong said that in the kindergarten curriculum, it is hoped that through some activities and festivals, students can identify with Chinese culture and the concept of "I am Chinese".

"National security education should be started in kindergartens, and it should be done from the perspective of national identity."

  Popularize party history education

  This year is the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China. Hong Kong also held a large number of celebrations and commemorative activities around July 1.

Some analysts believe that Hong Kong citizens can now speak out with a clear-cut voice of patriotism and love for Hong Kong, and can publicly celebrate the birthday of the Chinese Communist Party. This is an important manifestation of the change in Hong Kong's social atmosphere.

Recently, many Hong Kong Legislative Council members have also proposed that relevant knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party should be included in the evaluation of middle school textbooks to strengthen the popularization of the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

  In response to a question from a reporter from the Global Times, Yang Runxiong emphasized, “While studying national history, students will definitely learn about the development of the Communist Party of China over the past 100 years, and how it has improved people’s lives and their well-being. Put first".

He said that for Hong Kong, the great concept of "one country, two systems" itself was put forward by the Communist Party of China. It is also an advocate, promoter, and an important force in maintaining "one country, two systems."

  Yang Runxiong added that before the epidemic, many elementary and middle school students in Hong Kong had the opportunity to go to the mainland for exchanges. Visits in Beijing, Shanghai and other places and study in some museums allowed them to see the history of the development of the Chinese Communist Party.

"We have many opportunities both inside and outside the classroom for our students to learn about the Chinese Communist Party."