|LCQ15: Human rights education
Following is a question by the Hon Albert Ho and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 9):
Since the reorganisation of the policy bureaux of the Government Secretariat on July 1 last year, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) is responsible for coordinating human rights policies, the Home Affairs Bureau is responsible for coordinating the work on civic education, which covers human rights education, while the Education Bureau is responsible for incorporating human rights education into the curricula and activities at school level. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) given that following the reorganisation of its structure, the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) has assigned the work on the promotion of human rights education to its Publicity Subcommittee, of the reasons why there is no representative from the CMAB, which is in charge of human rights policies, among the official members of the CPCE, and whether the authorities will consider including official members from the CMAB in the membership of the CPCE;
(b) whether it will make reference to the Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools (the Guidelines) issued in 1996, include "human rights" along with "democracy", "rule of law", "national education", "globalisation" and "critical thinking" as key themes and formulate clear and systematic policies on human rights education; and
(c) which government department or mechanism is currently responsible for formulating policies on human rights education and coordinating the work of various government departments on the promotion of human rights education, and whether the authorities will consider setting up an inter-departmental committee on human rights education?
The reply to the three-part question is as follows.
(a) Human rights education is one aspect of civic education which covers a wide range of topics. The CPCE would invite relevant bureaux and departments, including the CMAB, to participate in discussions on the promotion of human rights education, as and when necessary.
(b) The themes and topics related to human rights education, which were covered in the Guidelines and the Key Learning Areas (KLAs), have been updated in the Curriculum Reform implemented in 2001. Important topics such as "human rights", "democracy", "rule of law", "national education", "globalisation" and "critical thinking" are systematically and comprehensively incorporated into the various KLAs applicable for different key learning stages. These include General Studies at primary level, Personal Social and Humanities Education KLA and New Senior Secondary Liberal Studies at secondary level, and the most recently revised Moral and Civic Education curriculum (2008). The promotion of generic skills, including critical thinking, has an important place in school education. This is reflected in the curriculum recommended by the Curriculum Development Council to all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong. It is also one of the learning goals of all KLAs and related subjects.
(c) Since the re-organisation of the Government Secretariat on July 1, 2007, the CMAB is responsible for co-ordinating the government's policies on human rights. The Education Bureau and the Home Affairs Bureau have included general human rights education as part of their relevant work at schools and outside schools respectively. In addition, individual policy bureaux and departments are responsible for promoting public education and awareness of the relevant human rights relating to their functional responsibilities. At present, we have no plans for setting up an inter-departmental committee on human rights education.
Ends/Wednesday, July 9, 2008