The Financial Express

HK needs education reform to better understand its future

| Updated: October 31, 2019 16:46:51

-File photo -File photo

In today's Hong Kong, rioters are clamoring for so-called democracy and freedom while seldom mentioning their recognition of Chinese history, culture and development. They have no idea why China became the world's second-largest economy.

What caused the phenomenon?

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, one of riot leaders in Hong Kong, was recently described in a local middle school's textbook as a "celebrity with traditional Chinese virtues." If an education system encourages young people to set fire outside police stations, break into legislative buildings, violate the rule of law and turn to violence when their demands are not met, the system must have gone wrong.

An illness is growing in the education system, it is only natural to prescribe a cure for it. Yet some Western media tend to claim that the Chinese mainland is trying to implement a mandatory political education course. It "must continue to march in step with the Party's new ideology," reported Reuters. Such rhetoric is inciting more violent activities in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's education system needs to be reformed. It should abide by the "one country, two systems" principle. However, opposition forces argue that the relevant educational reform is a form of brainwashing. This is confusing right from wrong. It is these forces which attempted to obliterate the fact that Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland are a community of common destiny which shares the same history, culture and fate. That being the case, the education of local people's national identity must be strengthened.

It is time for young Hongkongers to discover the development of the Chinese mainland, the reason why it has become the second largest economy and why Shenzhen from South China's Guangdong Province overtook Hong Kong in terms of economic growth in 2018. All the achievements are the result of decades of hard work from the Chinese people.

Over the decades, Hong Kong has been influenced by Western-style egalitarianism. As Jordan Peterson, the obscure Canadian psychologist, once noted in his article, "When left goes too far," equity is "egregious, self-righteous, historically-ignorant and dangerous." He argued when students in the West are taught too much about equality of opportunity, they would easily form a simple method to understand the world - when making judgments, they tend to only consider if it is fair and equal - instead of if one has been diligent enough. This is also the problem of Hong Kong's education. And with growing leftist ideology in the minds, it is easier for young people to turn to violence.

Most intellectuals in Hong Kong have grown up under this Western-style education and lost sight of the value of self-discipline, the spirit of hard work and resilience when faced with difficulties.

That's why education plays a significant role in changing the situation. It will be a long process and must keep pace with the times. More exchanges between the two sides should be encouraged, including inviting more Hong Kong educators to the mainland, encouraging more Hong Kong students to study in the mainland, planning some exchange activities to let Hongkongers see the real mainland.

The goal of education reform in Hong Kong is to serve Hong Kong and China's future, which, in turn, will create more opportunities for young Hongkongers.

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