Hong Kong students begin compulsory study tours in mainland China early next academic year

All high school students in Hong Kong will be required to go to mainland China for a study tour early in the next academic year, according to a circular sent to schools by the Education Bureau on Thursday.

The office said in the notice that schools should arrange for students to join the study tours they will organize and fully support once per student.

It added that it will communicate with the mainland authorities in advance so that flights can start as soon as possible when [easing] to the epidemiological situation and the resumption of quarantine-free travel.” The next school year begins in September.

Study tours in the mainland and learning related to the project are an important part of [citizenship and social development] The curriculum, which aims to enable students to gain a first-hand understanding of our country and its development, understand and appreciate Chinese culture, and develop their sense of national identity.”

In the pilot phase, the bureau said it will offer 21 tour options, ranging from two to five days. It includes a historical and cultural trip to Guangzhou and Dongguan and a tour to Shenzhen to study economic development and culture preservation efforts.

According to the publication, the Guangzhou and Dongguan cultural trip will include a visit to the Opium War Museum, which will address issues such as national security and “the origins of problems in Hong Kong”, including how it was ceded to Britain due to three unequal treaties.

The controversial topic of citizenship and social development has been implemented in the curricula of the fourth year and beyond this school year, replacing the compulsory liberal studies subject that opponents blame for the social unrest the city experienced in 2019 and 2020 and the lack of patriotism among the youth.

But supporters of liberal studies say it encourages critical thinking among students.

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