Liberal studies reform in Hong Kong secondary education: Contrasting desirability with feasibility

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4 Citations (Scopus)


In major curriculum reforms, there are inevitably gaps between design and implementation issues, taking the introduction of liberal studies (LS) into the senior secondary curriculum in Hong Kong as a classic example. The current paper illustrates how the implementation of LS as a compulsory core subject has impacted noticeably on Hong Kong senior secondary education. The LS curriculum setup is somewhat different from traditional subjects due to both the interdisciplinary nature of its design and the conceptions of learning, teaching, and assessment. The current study therefore attempts to portray the delicate balance that exists between the desirability ans feasibility of LS curriculum reform through interviewing members of the working group on the review of the academic structure for senior secondary education and interface with higher education. The study reports that, while LS policy makers considered both desirability and feasibility angles of the LS curriculum in their initial planning, the implementation of the LS public examination and teacher training to support the radical curriculum innovation fell short of expectations. Findings in the study clearly indicate that much more should be taken into account in respect of the dominance of an examination culture as well as teachers’ professional development when making major curriculum design changes. Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-230
JournalEducational Research for Policy and Practice
Issue number3
Early online dateJan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


study reform
secondary education
Hong Kong
policy studies
working group
teacher training


Fok, P. K. (2016). Liberal studies reform in Hong Kong secondary education: Contrasting desirability with feasibility. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 15(3), 209-230.


  • Curriculum
  • Decision making
  • Liberal studies
  • Hong Kong