A critical examination of the conceptions of civic education in Hong Kong with special reference to the transfer of sovereignty


Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Siu Wai SHUM


Awarding Institution
Award date14 Feb 2003


As a means to the transmission of citizenship values and political socialization, civic education is universally recognized as important. Through civic education, citizens could internalize the prevailing socio-political values and systems, or even develop critical attitudes towards the prevailing systems and government. Nevertheless, throughout the colonial history of Hong Kong, civic education has been undermined by the colonial government. The emergence of the issue of sovereignty transfer has shaken this situation. The rapid implementation of representative system and the urgent needs for preparing re-unification have paved the way for the development of civic education in Hong Kong since the early 1980's. This research studies the local conceptions of civic education during the period of sovereignty transfer. It has three main parts: exposition of the meaning of "civic education", analysis of official and unofficial conceptions of civic education in Hong Kong, a critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the various conceptions. Through studying the nature of citizenship and the prevailing models of civic education, two commonly shared components of civic education are identified: identity of citizen and practice of citizenship. These are the two elements which constitute the core of civic education and form the conceptions of civic education. Each official and non-official conception is studied in three dimensions: its scope (width), its target duration (depth) and its teaching approach (length). In examining the teaching approach of the different conceptions, three levels of citizenship transmission approach are used. Through the analysis, several official components and communal emphases of civic education will be discussed. The evaluation is mainly concerned with conceptual defects and contextual limitations of various ideas. The conceptual evaluation focuses on the internal conceptual tensions and implications with reference to the two commonly shared components of civic education. Moreover, the suitability of different conceptions will also be evaluated with reference to HKSAR's special contexts. Finally, three recommendations concerning the three dimensions of civic education conceptions are provided and with an aim forward a flourishing long-tern development of civic education in Hong Kong.

    Research areas

  • Citizenship, Hong Kong, Study and teaching, Civics, Civics, Hong Kong, China