The Education Bureau has pointed out that primary school students should be able to read simplified Chinese characters so that they have a wider reading range.
The point was made in the document for a public consultation on the renewal of Chinese language education curriculum for primary schools released by the bureau’s Curriculum Development Council in December.
The public consultation lasts until February 15.
The document said primary school students should also be equipped with reading ability for simplified Chinese characters so as to have a boarder reading range and better communication with the mainland and overseas. It did not provide further elaboration on this.
Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen did not support the introduction of a curriculum on simplified Chinese characters as he felt it would just bring confusion to the children.
“It is too early to teach simplified Chinese characters in primary schools in which the children are learning traditional Chinese characters. They would be confused if they were also taught about simplified Chinese at the same time,” Ip said.
Classes on simplifed Chinese could be conducted in secondary schools when the students had a mastery of traditional Chinese characters, Ip said.
The other reason was that the city was using mainly traditional Chinese, and if the children were interested in learning the simplified version, they would be able to find other channels themselves beside sitting in the classrooms.
Fung Pik-yee, principal of Aplichau Kaifong Primary School in Ap Lei Chau, said it was not that necessary for young primary school students to learn simplified Chinese when they also had to learn traditional Chinese and English.
The primary school students should focus on learning traditional Chinese, Fung said. They could learn simplified Chinese through other means, such as by reading when they grew older, as traditional and simplified Chinese did not have big differences, the principal added.