More than 70 local secondary schools will use Hong Kong’s first organ donation teaching materials, which includes the views of six of the city’s biggest religions, to boost donations.
The materials, which educators have praised, were developed by the Hong Kong Organ Transplant Foundation over two years and are to be used this term in liberal studies lessons from Form Four to Form Six.
“If we want to change, education at a young age is important,” said Dr Kelvin Ho Kai-leung, the foundation’s founding president.
Dr Kelvin Ho Kai-leung, the foundation’s founding president, said many Hongkongers only had a “superficial knowledge of organ donation”.
The city’s organ donation rate has ranked among the lowest in the world, with just 5.8 donors for every one million residents in 2015, according to a Legislative Council study released in July.
The course consists of three modules and introduces students to the latest data. It also includes case studies of transplant recipients and donors. Perspectives from the city’s six major religions – Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Islam – have also been included, with religious leaders seeing organ donation as a good thing.
The materials also look at transplant procedures and the eligibility criteria for specific organs.
Students have reacted positively to these materials. Cheyenne Cheung Hui-yan, 17, a Form Six student from Good Hope School, said the materials can raise students’ awareness about organ donation.
“Despite the death of Jamella Mangali Lo, the 19-year-old who failed to get a lung transplant last year, many students are not familiar with organ donation as it is not a part of our curriculum. The new material lets us look at the topic from different angles,” says Cheyenne.
Shahryar Naeem, 18, from the University of Hong Kong, said it would clear some misconceptions.
“In my religion, Islam, some believe it is haram (banned and sinful) to donate organs as the human body is a gift from Allah (God), but that’s not true.”
He added the materials should be included at university level, too. “Maybe there could be related seminars or talks. Perhaps it could be embedded into some of the common core courses like medical ethics. It could also show up in Hong Kong Today as it is a rather hot topic with a lot of debate involving different walks of life from Hong Kong’s society.”
Tutor H. Y. Fung from Modern Education said that this was a preliminary stage of integrating this topic into the liberal studies syllabus. It is related to liberal studies modules, including Personal Development and Interpersonal Relationships, Hong Kong Today and Public Health.
“I believe they will cover the topic more extensively in the future. Students can also discuss whether or not everyone should be made a potential organ donor. It will be a controversial topic to look at, but the materials can instil positive values and attitudes in students,” said Fung.