I am writing in response to Kathy Luk's letter in Young Post on making Chinese history a compulsory subject ("History helps with the present", April 22). I share her views and would like to add something.
Kathy mentioned that students would better understand our country by learning its past. There is a lot of political tension between Hong Kong and the mainland. Knowing what happened in the past is essential if we want to understand the present and ensure a better future.
Studying Chinese history won't solve any problems, but it will help give people an understanding of the issues and the reasons for them.
Some people are worried students will be brainwashed by Chinese history. Policies and rules set by the Education Bureau can help make sure this doesn't happen.
I also agree that there should be no exams for the subject. Exams cause people to memorise facts just to pass. Without exams, people can become more interested in the subject and learn about it properly. Projects and other research-based work would be a better alternative to written exams for Chinese history.
Chau Pui-yan, Our Lady of the Rosary College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Pui-yan. I agree that understanding history is important, both for the present and for the future. But Chinese history is a subject that is closely tied to politics and divided opinions. Making it compulsory is bound to cause a lot of debate.
Getting rid of exams is one way to get people more interested in the subject. But I suspect Hongkongers would quickly disregard any subject without academic grades as a waste of time, much in the same way people often choose not to do volunteer work.
To have any real impact, people must choose to study history. Wanting to learn something is more effective than requiring it.
Lucy Christie, Sub-editor