Hong Kong Education Bureau Focuses On Continuous Improvement Of Local Liberal Studies Book As Aristo Is Slammed

Children attend a new semester event at Yaumati Catholic Primary School in Hong Kong, southern China, September 2, 2019. Photo:Xinhua

“Improvements” were made to the public health section of the Hong Kong Liberal Studies educational material published by Aristo Educational Press, which has been criticized for its outdated and biased content.

The public health section of the Hong Kong Liberal Studies educational material published by Aristo was recently criticized for allegedly tarnishing the mainland’s image with outdated and biased content, drawing widespread criticism from parents of local students. .

According to Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po, parents revealed in focus groups on Sunday that liberal studies papers released by Aristo in 2020 contained baseless accusations against the mainland, such as organ trading at the market. black.

The Aristo Books also used cartoon images to exaggerate food security concerns on the continent, one showing a man fainting after dining at a restaurant. The photo captioned the food served on the table with labels such as “lean pork powder” and “malachite green fish,” which parents viewed as outdated and biased news.

Parents pointed to another image that pokes fun at the country’s path to sustainable development as being hampered by acid rain, smog and water pollution, which they said was unbalanced and ignored positive steps taken by China.

Commenting on the matter, Wun Siu Lun, an information office official at the Education Office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, responded to the Global Times on Tuesday via an email statement saying that “improvements” had been made to the content of the manuals published by Aristo in question.

Through consultations, the Hong Kong education regulator offered advice for improvement, the statement noted, while explaining that specific revisions to content, including text and images in educational materials, would be entirely determined by the editors.

Hong Kong’s education regulator pointed out that although such revisions have been made, publishers still have a responsibility to continue to constantly review and optimize the content of books to ensure the materials are correct, objective and balanced and consistent with the objectives and pedagogical principles of the program.

When asked if the office would ask frontline teachers to offer additional guidelines and illustrations for similar controversial content, Wun said the office has consistently worked out the requirements and principles of the schools. through measures such as curriculum orientation, professional training for faculty members and also urging teachers to choose textbooks and teaching materials “with caution”, regardless of the subject for which they are intended .

A total of six editors and eight textbooks participated in the consultation, which was conducted by a team of education professionals appointed by the education office. The list of editors and textbooks was posted on the bureau’s website, the Global Times previously learned.

Aristo Educational Press, previously heavily criticized for providing “poisonous news” that favored pro-secessionist groups, was among the publishers who undertook the consultation and revised its textbooks.

Aristo has yet to respond to the Global Times’ request for comment on the matter at press time.

Former Hong Kong SAR Government Director General Tung Chee-hwa said in August 2019, when the city was haunted by riots and social unrest, that this was misleading content. in the liberal studies program which caused widespread misunderstanding and even hostility towards mainland China among Hong Kong youth. , and such content had also led to confusion in their awareness of their identity.

Netizens commented on the resurgence of controversial content contained in the city’s liberal studies book, with many saying that “there will be no correct and objective view and understanding of the continent if the publisher continues to fail. instill only old negative and biased images of the continent. “

Some have even suggested that Hong Kong might as well make use of the universal teaching materials for mainland students published by the People’s Education Press.

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