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In Search of an Identity: The Politics of History as a School Subject in Hong Kong, 1960s-2005

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Ed-VickersEdward Vickers

2005, 334pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-38-X
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-38-0
HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)
Published by the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)

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In most societies the school subject of History reflects and reinforces a sense of collective identity. However, in Hong Kong this has emphatically not been the case. Official and popular ambivalence towards the nation in the shape of the People’s Republic of China, and the sensitivity of Hong Kong’s own political and cultural status, have meant that the question of local identity has until recently been largely sidestepped in school curricula and textbooks. In this ground- breaking study, Edward Vickers sets out to reexamine some of the myths concerning colonialism and schooling under the British, while showing how in postcolonial Hong Kong these myths have been deployed to legitimise a programme of nationalistic re-education. In a new Afterword, he emphasises that it is Hong Kong’s fundamentally undemocratic political context that has thwarted – and continues to thwart – efforts to make history education a vehicle for fostering a liberal, democratic sense of regional and national citizenship.

Since the 1960s, Hong Kong people have developed a strong sense of their own distinctiveness. This thorough study explains why the local school curriculum has failed to reflect this emerging sense of identity. Vickers shows how the pressures of political correctness have constrained curriculum developers, and undermined their attempts to make history education more relevant, stimulating and critical. His book should be read not only by specialists interested in curriculum history, but by all those who are interested in Hong Kong, and the role that education can play in shaping its future.
– Christine Loh – Chief Executive Officer, Civic Exchange, Hong Kong

In Search of an Identity provides a scholarly and superbly readable account of a complex episode in curriculum history in East Asia. As such, it represents a major contribution to curriculum policy studies and to the regional historiography of education and identity formation.
– From the Foreword by Professor Andy Green

This volume makes a substantial contribution to understanding the complexities of curriculum development processes, identity politics, and notions of culture and nationness – not only in Hong Kong, but across the rest of East Asia and beyond.
– Alisa Jones, The China Quarterly

A significant contribution to research in the field of education in general, and to research in comparative curriculum history in particular… the first comprehensive effort to analyse the trajectories of history education in Hong Kong from historical perspectives.
– Hiromitsu Inokuchi and Yoshiko Nozaki, The Asia Pacific Journal of Education

[There is] no other book covering so thoroughly an essential topic for scholars of national identity: the curriculum through which Hong Kong youth have been taught history over the past forty years.
– Gordon Matthews, Asian Anthropology

Edward Vickers is Lecturer in Comparative Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is co-editor of History Education and National Identity in East Asia (New York: Routledge, 2005).


Education and Society in Hong Kong and Macao: Comparative Perspectives on Continuity and Change

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

chin-hk-macao-Taiwan-colourMark Bray & Ramsey Koo

2004, 2nd edition (1999, 1st edition) 323 pp

ISBN 10: 962-8093-34-7
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-34-2

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)

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Hong Kong and Macao have much in common. The dominant populations in both territories are Cantonese-speaking Chinese; both are small in area; both are urban societies; both have been colonies of European powers; and both have undergone political transition to reunification with China. Yet in education, for reasons that are analysed in this book, they are very different.

The patterns of similarities and differences in the two territories make a fascinating basis for comparative study. The overarching theme of the book, on continuity and change, is particularly pertinent following the transition of the two societies to the postcolonial era.

This thoroughly-revised and expanded second edition builds on the widely-recognised first edition. The work has been acclaimed as a significant contribution to the broad field of comparative education as well as to study of the specific societies which are its main focus.

Mark Bray is Chair Professor of Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong. Ramsey Koo is a Senior Lecturer at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Both have long experience of research on education in Hong Kong and Macao; and both are active in professional societies concerned with comparative education.





















School Knowledge in Comparative and Historical Perspective: Changing Curricula in Primary and Secondary Education

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-18Edited by Aaron Benavot and Cecilia Braslavsky

2006, 315pp

ISBN 10: 962-8093-52-5
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-52-6

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

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School curricula are established not only to prepare young people for a real world, but also to beckon an imagined one anchored in individual rights and collective progress. Both worlds – the real and the imagined – increasingly reflect influential transnational forces.

In this special edited volume, scholars with diverse backgrounds and conceptual frameworks explore how economic, political, social and ideological forces impact on school curricula over time and place. In providing regional and global perspectives on curricular policies, practices and reforms, the authors move beyond the conventional notion that school contents reflect principally national priorities and subject-based interests. Some authors emphasize a convergence to standardized global curricular structures and discourses. Others suggest that changes regarding the intended contents of primary and secondary school curricula reveal regional or trans-cultural influences. Overall, these comparative and historical studies demonstrate that the dynamics of curriculum-making and curricular reform are increasingly forged within wider regional, cross-regional and global contexts.

Aaron Benavot is a senior policy analyst at UNESCO (Paris) working on the Global Monitoring Report on Education For All, and a senior lecturer (on leave) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. His research focuses on the effects of education on development and democratization, the expansion of mass education, and worldwide patterns of official school curricula.

Cecilia Braslavsky was Director of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education (IBE) from July 2000 until her untimely passing on 1 June 2005. A remarkable educationalist in the realms of both theory and practice, she made significant contributions to the field of curriculum development and change. She was formerly Educational Coordinator of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), and Director-General of Educational Research in the Argentine Ministry of Education.

Read a review published in the journal Comparative Education Review, Volume 54, Number 3, (August 2010)

Comparative Education: The Construction of a Field

Return to the CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-29Maria Manzon

February 2011

ISBN 978-988-1785-26-8

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

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This book is a remarkable feat of scholarship - so remarkable in fact that I put it in the same league as the great classics of the field that had so much to do with setting the direction of Comparative Education. Indeed, this volume goes further than earlier classics to reveal, through textual analysis and interviews with key figures, how the epistemological foundations of the field and crucial professional developments combined to, as the title indicates, construct Comparative Education.

Manzon's work is indispensable - a word I do not use lightly - for scholars who seek a genuine grasp of the field: how it was formed and by whom, its major theoreticians, its professional foundations, and so on. Clearly too, this book marks the rise of a young star, Maria Manzon, who shows promise of joining the ranks of our field's most illustrious thinkers.

Erwin H. Epstein
Director, Center for Comparative Education
Loyola University, Chicago, USA

Also: Review published in the journal Comparative Education, Volume 48, Number 3, 2012: 403-406

Review published in Revista Latinoamericana de Educación Comparada, Año 3, Nº3, 2012

Review published in Comparative Education Review, Volume 56, Issue 2, 2012: 320-323

Review published in International Review of Education, Volume 59, Issue 1, 2013: 137–139

Review published in Journal of International and Comparative Education, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013: 44-46

Review published in German in Bildung und Erziehung, Volume 66, Issue 2, 2013: 236-238

Review published in Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Volume 34, Number 2, 2014: 255-257

Maria Manzon is an Associate Member of the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) at the University of Hong Kong. She was Editor of CIEclopedia in 2009 and 2010, and Assistant Secretary General of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES) in 2005.

Readers interested in this title might also be interested in Common interests, Uncommon Goals: Histories of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies and its Members

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