Evolution and controversies of social studies education in the Hong Kong context

Chi Fung Wilton CHAU, Koon Lin WONG

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


This chapter examines the historical development and changes in social studies education in Hong Kong, As exemplified by general studies, life and society, and liberal studies. It identifies that Hong Kong does not employ an individual subject for civic education but absorbs its components – moral and character education – into the syllabi of social studies. Despite their comprehensiveness and interdisciplinary nature, these three examples are arguably the only curricular channels for students to construct citizenry over the course of primary and secondary education. Similar to Western counterparts, social studies subjects in Hong Kong also face criticisms such as being "too broad" and "politicized". Therefore, the recent proposal to alter the rubric of liberal studies and make the subject an elective has inflicted polarized voices within the community for suspected de-politicization. This also raises concerns of whether the amendment would contradict the goals of the New Senior Secondary framework; create a vacuum in senior secondary civic education; and undermine students' ability to develop social awareness, a broadening of vision, critical thinking and connection skills at local, national, and global levels in the long run. Copyright © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Kerry J. Kennedy; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial studies education in East Asian contexts
EditorsKerry J. KENNEDY
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
ISBN (Electronic)9780429053313
ISBN (Print)9780367147716
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Chau, W. C. F., & Wong, K. L. (2021). Evolution and controversies of social studies education in the Hong Kong context. In K. J. Kennedy (Ed.), Social studies education in East Asian contexts (pp. 50-68). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.


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