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Religious education programme of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong: Challenges and responses since 1997

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The Catholic Church, the largest school-sponsoring body in Hong Kong, is a major provider of religious schools and educational programmes. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese released its first centralised and comprehensive curricular document concerning religious and moral education (RME) in Catholic schools. Taking this programme as a reflection of the Church’s response to the challenges of a changing social milieu, severed church–state relations and shortcomings in Catholic education in post-1997 Hong Kong, this article reviews the framework and principles of the new curriculum. While retaining strong religious elements in its curriculum, the Catholic Church has widened and re-oriented its programme, and re-designed the contents and pedagogical methods. The new programme is characterised by adjustment and differentiation, upholding Christian faith, and selective absorption of Chinese culture. This article also discusses problems in the implementation of the new programme, including organisational compartmentalisation and an underdeveloped political dimension in the content.
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Keywords: Catholic Church; Chinese culture; Hong Kong; patriotism; religious and moral education (RME)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Educational Administration and Policy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, HKSAR, China

Publication date: September 2, 2015

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