Universities in Hong Kong and Beijing are to form an alliance for institutional and student cooperation, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng has said.

Ng made the announcement on Thursday while visiting Beijing alongside directors and chancellors of eight Hong Kong universities. He was speaking with senior management figures from a dozen universities in the Chinese capital.

Secretary for Education Eddie Ng and Minister for Education Chen Baosheng
Eddie Ng and Minister for Education Chen Baosheng in Beijing. Photo: GovHK.

It comes after a similar partnership with universities across the border was initiated last November, under the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Alliance.

“Today we have reached a consensus on the establishment of the Beijing-Hong Kong University Alliance,” Ng told reporters. “Establishment work will be led by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Peking University.”

Ng did not provide further details of the planned cooperation activities with institutions in Beijing. However, he said that the Guangdong alliance has been fruitful for science and technology research, and there are plans to stage an exhibition this October.

He added that Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University opens its supercomputer centre for use by institutions participating in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Alliance.

51 hours of Basic Law education

Ng was also asked about the latest changes on Wednesday to the Education Bureau’s Secondary Education Curriculum Guide, which reinforced plans announced in January to teach 51 hours of Basic Law-related materials to junior secondary students between Form 1 and Form 3. The 51 hours are spread out among four subjects: Chinese history, life and society, history and geography.

basic law curriculum
The Education Bureau’s guide to educators in January. Photo: Education Bureau.

Ng claimed that the 51 designated hours of Basic Law education consist of activities that are already part of the Hong Kong secondary school curriculum, and do not constitute “additions” to the syllabus.

See also: Education Bureau under fire for hasty introduction of mandatory Basic Law course in secondary schools

“We will regroup [the activities] in a new way, and avoid having different subjects teach the same [material],” he added.

“For example, in the past we emphasised teaching ancient history more, and now we equally emphasise ancient and modern history. We have to make choices and sacrifices, because 5,000 years of history is not easy to teach.”

Elson Tong

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.