Nationalistic education and indoctrination

Yan Wing LEUNG

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The Guidelines on Civic Education in School (1996) for Hong Kong recommend that there should be five foci in school civic education, namely education for democracy, human rights education, education for the rule of law, nationalistic education and global education. After the return of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) and the SAR government has singled out nationalistic education as the sole focus of civic education. This paper is a report of case studies focusing on the understanding and practice of nationalistic education of three civic educators whose understanding is inclined towards education for totalitarian nationalism in Hong Kong secondary schools, using the concepts of indoctrination. The findings show that because of the teachers' inability to separate the nation from the ruling party and their strong mission of sending a positive image of the party to their students, they have tended to adopt particular teaching strategies, which might suppress the students' ability to reflect critically. According to the criteria of indoctrination, namely relationship, intention, content and teaching method, their teaching approaches tend to be indoctrinatory, rather than educational. This is certainly unacceptable to those who believe education is concerned with the development of independent, critically thinking individuals. Hopefully, this paper will enhance the awareness of the potential indoctrinatory nature of nationalistic education of teachers and shed light on the development of school-based nationalistic education aiming at the cultivation of the 'critical patriot'. Copyright © 2004 Symposium Journals Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
JournalCitizenship, Social and Economics Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


Leung, Y. W. (2004). Nationalistic education and indoctrination. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 6(2), 116-130. doi: 10.2304/csee.2004.6.2.116


  • Secondary Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


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