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Issues & Insights Vol. 21, WP 1 – The Climate of Civil Disobedience: Liberal Studies as a Political Instrument under Hong Kong’s Secondary Education Curriculum

In the most recent decade Hong Kong has undergone mass socio-political unrest. The outbreak, and amplification, of citywide civil disobedience has been magnified by the launch and delivery of Liberal Studies as a compulsory subject under the local senior secondary education curriculum. This has raised the political consciousness and awareness of Hong Kong youth. This paper first presents an overview of the anti-national education curriculum campaigns, the Umbrella Movement and the consequent socio-political unrest. It will then explore the political controversies over the delivery of Liberal Studies. Next, it will analyze how Liberal Studies has been subject to curricular reforms, and discuss whether such amendments have been the result of politicization by the pro-Beijing camp to counter the proliferation of anti-government and anti-China sentiments among Hong Kong youth. Lastly, this research will assess whether the aims to offer Liberal Studies as part of the secondary education curriculum have been fulfilled, and discuss how to close the gaps between the expected and actual learning outputs.