Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Local university students should study for at least half a year at their university’s Greater Bay Area branches, said Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Starry Lee Wai-king. Lee said Hongkongers should get to know more about the Chinese Communist Party and China model, as the national legislature is expected to pass a patriotic education bill within this year.

When asked about the drafted patriotic education bill which is currently being reviewed by the NPC Standing Committee, Lee said: “Both patriotic education and national education are to let citizens learn the most updated knowledge about our country’s history, culture, systems and circumstances so they can naturally become more patriotic. “Most local universities have a GBA campus, where at least half a year of study should be done. Another half or whole year can be allocated for global study exchanges. This is so students can know more about the world and our country,” she said.

Currently, Chinese University has a campus in Shenzhen, while Baptist University established a united college with Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai. And the University of Science and Technology has a campus in Guangzhou. Other universities with mainland branches include Metropolitan University (Zhaoqing), City University (Dongguan), Polytechnic University (Guangzhou), and the University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen). But some students do not support the idea of having to attend mainland university counterparts in the GBA.

Chen, a University of Hong Kong social sciences student said she found the arrangement “stupid” and worried the arrangement could hinder learning.

She added: “What if students want to go to Beijing instead of cities within the GBA? “And course designs may be different at the two campuses, so students may have to readjust when they return to Hong Kong. It would also be penalizing students with bad Mandarin skills.”

Huang, a student from CUHK-Shenzhen, said that although she welcomes students from Hong Kong, “many of these universities (Hong Kong universities’ GBA branches) are still very new, so there are many majors that haven’t been established, which means the arrangement is not feasible.” For undergraduate courses, CUHK has around 90 majors to choose from, while its Shenzhen counterpart has less than 30.

“And it wouldn’t be fair to only require Hong Kong students to go to mainland but not vice versa,” Huang added.

“I think Hong Kong should improve its promotion of the GBA instead because students would never become more patriotic or have good a cultural exchange [with mainland students] if they feel like they were forced to participate in the arrangement,” said Huang.

A CUHK spokesman said the university is committed to letting its students study “on the mainland side of the GBA and elsewhere in the country,” citing a double major program to be launched with its CUHK-Shenzhen branch in the 2023/24 academic year as an example.

CityU said its institution has a “brilliant international outlook” and will “continue to lead their staff and students to contribute to Hong Kong, to China, and to the world.”

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