The implementation of civic education teaching in Hong Kong secondary schools: Problems and possibilities

Shui Che Janet FOK

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


For the past years since the post-war period, the government of Hong Kong has had no clear-cut policy on the implementation of moral and civic education in schools. Civic education was implemented in secondary schools through the so-called “permeated approached” in which elements of civic education were incorporated through school subjects such as Ethics or Economics and Public Affairs. Because of the social and political changes resulting from rapid economic growth and also because of the then impending return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to Mainland China in 1997, the Hong Kong Government Education Department issued three Guidelines for reference by schools: “General Guidelines on Moral Education in School” in 1981, “the Guidelines on Civic Education in School” in 1985 and “the Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools in 1996. The aim of the 1996 Guidelines was to facilitate schools’ renewal of their commitment towards civic education. In answer to public expectations, it synthesized different views of civic education, for example that it should promote patriotism, and foster universal values such as democracy and human rights. The Guidelines also made some suggestions as to how the subject might be approached and taught, offering some substantial suggestions as to how civic education could be implemented in schools. However, schools have the autonomy as to whether or not to adapt the Guidelines’ recommendations. A number of years have elapsed since the publication of the 1996 Guidelines. To understand how civic education is implemented in our schools, a working group of the Hong Kong Institute of Education carried out a study on this issue in the year 1999-2000. Data were collected through survey and structured interview. Questionnaires were sent to all secondary schools and followed by interviewing teachers and principals in some sample schools. The findings of our study showed that schools then generally had a more positive attitude towards implementing civic education and had introduced more inspiring teaching methods. However some old problems, such as the shortage of resources and the lack of training for civic education teacher, still remained unresolved. In this era of materialism and information technology, it is very important to promote youngsters’ civic values. Our survey revealed some of the problems encountered by schools in implementing civic education. At the same time, it showed the success that some schools had experienced. This paper will reflect these findings, and offer some possible ways forward for the future development of civic education in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2002


Fok, S. C. (2002, May). The implementation of civic education teaching in Hong Kong secondary schools: Problems and possibilities. Paper presented at the Symposium supported by the Council of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust: Learning from the Past, Informing the Future: Education Then, Now and Tomorrow, Hong Kong Baptist University, China.


  • Secondary Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


Dive into the research topics of 'The implementation of civic education teaching in Hong Kong secondary schools: Problems and possibilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.