I am writing to express my opinion on whether Chinese history should be made compulsory at senior secondary level.
Many students in Hong Kong drop Chinese history when they choose subjects for the HKDSE.
People say Hongkongers will face an identity crisis because they have not been taught Chinese history properly. Therefore, the Education Bureau is considering making Chinese history compulsory in senior secondary school. I do not agree with this.
First, we should choose subjects that we are interested in. If a student is forced to study Chinese history, they might get a bad grade in the public exam. This could ruin their chances of getting in to university.
Second, I believe Chinese history is not as important as science subjects. However, if we have to study Chinese history along with science subjects, it would put huge pressure on students who already have a heavy workload.
Making Chinese history a compulsory subject at senior secondary level does not make sense. It’s not fair for the students. Let’s drop the idea right now!
Jimmy Tam, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College
Thank you for your letter, Jimmy. History is a very important subject. Examining the past helps us understand the present, and better plan for the future. Studying Chinese history helps us understand past relationships in Hong Kong and on the mainland, and why some people think or behave a certain way.
But I agree with you that it isn’t really necessary to continue studying the subject once you start preparing for the HKDSE.
The HKDSE is a chance to find out what you’re really good at. Some subjects – maths and languages – will serve you well whatever you do after secondary school. But other subjects aren’t as universally useful once you leave school.
Given the pressure that is already on you to get good grades so that you can get a good job, or get into university, being forced to study a subject you don’t like for three years seems like a form of punishment. It’s certainly easier to learn and get higher marks when you are interested in something.
Forcing students to learn subjects they don’t believe will be useful to them is tiring for the students themselves, and demoralising for the teachers. Neither situation helps students pass their exams.
Let’s hope the Education Bureau can be sensible next time they make changes to the syllabus.
Karly, Deputy Editor