【明報專訊】THE senior managers of the National Education Services Centre (NESC) say the Chinese Model National Conditions Teaching Manual they have published presents China's general situation in a positive light in order to balance all the negative stories that are flooding the national education market. Such being the NESC managers' attitude, it is no wonder that the content of the manual is biased.
The Education Bureau prescribes that national education materials must enable students to see things from different angles. NESC's manual clearly fails to measure up to this criterion. For instance, it describes the CCP government as one of "progress, selflessness and solidarity". Now according to the Education Bureau's requirements, after introducing the merits of democratic centralism, the manual should also mention its demerits, such as absolute corruption resulting from absolute power, which is not just a theory, but a fact observed in the former Soviet Union and the present CCP government.
At the same time, after highly commending the CCP government, the manual carries a column titled "Bitter Party Struggles Victimise the People", in which it is said that, under the American democratic system, the Republican and Democratic parties often engage in partisan struggles, each trying to vote down bills introduced by the other, to the detriment of the people. Even if there is substance in this statement, there is universal consensus about the merits of a two-party political system, which must also be set out to comply with the Education Bureau's requirement for a pluralistic approach. But nothing of that sort can be found in the manual, which is therefore totally unacceptable.
The senior managers of NESC are united in voicing their opposition to Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim's judgment that parts of the manual are biased. Yeung Yiu-chung, chairman of the centre, goes so far as to declare that "the Secretary for Education should not have the final say" as to whether the manual is biased or not. If NESC were not subsidised by the government, Yeung would have every right to ignore the Secretary for Education's judgment, and his centre would also have every right to publish as many biased national education manuals as their resources might permit. However, since the two national education centres run by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers (HKFEW) receive an annual government subsidy of more than $13 million, their work must be subject to public supervision.
The brainwashing manual is evidence that the HKFEW receives government subsidy and engages itself in biased political propaganda. And judging by what is known, there are some shady goings-on between the HKFEW and the government.
In addition to this HKFEW case, there have been in recent years many instances in which public resources are rather too readily granted to the establishmentarian camp. Take, for example, the district councils dominated by establishmentarians. Many establishmentarian district councillors easily obtain government grants in the name of holding social functions, which enable them to use public money to solicit the local inhabitants' support.
Such covert and almost unethical practices are eroding the principle of impartiality, justice, and openness cherished in Hong Kong. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying professes to be committed to clean government. He would be doing society a good service if he could put a stop to this practice of using taxpayers' money for obscure purposes.
明報社評 2012.07.11﹕教材偏頗不合格 教局勿資助政治洗腦
commend﹕to publicly praise
readily﹕quickly and without difficulty
covert﹕If something is covert, it is secret or hidden in a way that it is hard to notice.