A total of HK$60 million will be earmarked as a one-off funding scheme to facilitate kindergarten pupils’ learning of Chinese culture, Chief Executive John Lee announced in his first Policy Address on Wednesday.

Children in Hong Kong. File photo: Chspf via Wikimedia Commons.

“A one-off grant of HK$60 million will be provided for kindergartens joining the Kindergarten Education Scheme (KES) to organise school-based activities that help students learn Chinese culture from an early age,” Lee said.

It was one of a number of objectives mentioned by Lee designed to promote national education within and beyond the classroom. Schools will also be encouraged to enrich their curricula with “elements such as the history and geography of our country,” while government schools will launch a series of inter-school activities called “Love Our Home; Treasure Our Country.”

The requirement that newly appointed teachers at public sector schools pass a test on the Basic Law and national security law will be extended to cover all Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools and kindergartens joining the KES from the next school year.

The government has ramped up its efforts in patriotic education following the 2019 extradition bill protests, with officials blaming young people’s weak sense of national identity as a root problem.

The chief executive also said that around 780 publicly-funded primary and secondary schools had established over 2,000 school pairings with institutions in mainland China, and the government aimed to increase the number of Hong Kong schools participating in the scheme by 10 per cent by end of next year.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.