Stand Firm to Protect Our Professional Autonomy and Liberal Studies

Ho Chi-wai
Deputy Director, Publication Department

When the umbrella movement is now going in full swing, there is once again a call for de-politicizing the subject of Liberal Studies. Pro-establishment camp, led mainly by Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, criticized teachers of taking the advantage of teaching Liberal Studies, in which students discuss on the current issues, to mobilize students to take to the streets and participate in the social movements. In fact, we think that this unreasonable criticism should not be made when one has some basic understanding on the curriculum of Liberal Studies and its teaching method.

Liberal Studies not only aims at providing students with training of rational and critical thinking and nurturing students to think in different perspectives, but also stimulates them to widen their horizon and understand better the matters facing them, so as to equip themselves to meet the coming challenges in the future generations. Therefore, the subject of Liberal Studies, regardless of its content of the curriculum or its teaching method, is beneficial for the development of our next generation. However, and very saddening, Liberal Studies is now regarded as a tool to provoke the youth to take part in social movements. We would like to reiterate that in this generation of information explosion, especially on the web, the youth can still get access to different kinds of information by a bewildering variety of channels. No one can prevent the youth from obtaining the information, and what we can do is to nurture our students to receive the information in a critical manner, and make objective analysis after they have obtained the information.

Therefore, colleagues of Liberal Studies, for our next generation, please do not be silent, and stand firm to protect our professional autonomy. We also appeal to colleagues of other subjects to join us and fight together with the teachers of Liberal Studies, as silence means turning a blind eye to the enemy of our professional autonomy.