There have been suggestions that the Diaoyutai incident should be incorporated into the history syllabuses and textbooks in local schools.

The Present History Curriculum in Schools

2. The Sino-Japanese Wars and World War II are topics of study in the existing curriculum of History and Chinese History at secondary level, and the Diaoyutai incident could be traced back to the above wars in history. Despite the fact that no direct reference has been made to single events such as the Diaoyutai incident in the history syllabuses, teachers could find ample suggestions in the Curriculum Guides to extend their content coverage and discuss relevant historical events and current issues with students.

3. Regarding the teaching of contemporary Chinese history, the Curriculum Development Council syllabuses state clearly that teachers are advised to discuss with students relevant current issues related to the internal and external affairs of China. The aims of the Chinese History and History syllabuses are to introduce students to major historical events, trends and concepts; and to cultivate an independent and analytical mind amongst students. To make history teaching stimulating and relevant, teachers are encouraged to allow room for students to enquire into an issue, to do their own analysis and to arrive at rational conclusions.

4. Textbooks are only one type of a full range of teaching resources. The adoption of the issue-enquiry approach to teaching history encourages teachers to make use of the most current information and resources available, such as newspapers, magazines and television programmes when they are dealing with contemporary issues. The reliance on prescribed texts may not be adequate as textbooks cannot be updated in time or revised too frequently to reflect the latest development of the event or issue.

Position of the Education Department

5. As long as a history textbook is written according to syllabus objectives and requirements, the Education Department will allow publishers the flexibility in the treatment of subject matters. The historical or current events included in the textbooks should serve to illustrate relevant topics in the syllabus and should be approached objectively and in a balanced manner. The Education Department is not in a position to direct publishers to include a specific event in their textbooks.

6. The Education Department welcomes all interested parties to comment or make suggestions on any subject syllabuses and textbooks. Their comments or suggestions will be forwarded to the Curriculum Development Council which is responsible for formulating directions and programmes in curriculum development for the school system, and its Textbook Co-ordinating Committee which advises on the adequacy and general standard of textbooks and instructional materials in support of the current curriculum.

Education Department
October 1996

Last Updated on 14 August 1998