This article first explores the distinctive experiences of Hong Kong’s colonial status and change of sovereignty (decolonisation) process from both institutionalist and culturalist paradigms. It then analyses the current state of curriculum management at the micro-level in two academically oriented secondary schools. The findings suggest that the two case study schools, with regard to medium of instruction issues, tend to become agents of resistance to decolonisation. In addition, examples drawn from the two schools illustrate a number of tensions, two of which are an academic orientation versus whole-person development, including Christian education, and local parental interests in their children’s academic achievement versus official government policies for promoting civic education and active learning. The micro scenario depicted by the two case study schools reflects to some extent the evolution of an education system which has survived through a multitude of tensions and compromises. Copyright © 1998 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.