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What kind of political socialization in secondary schools is needed in Hong Kong in the 21st Century?

Ngai, George Siu-Keung


George Siu-Keung Ngai


Mike Bottery

Nigel Wright


In 1842, when Hong Kong became a British colony, it was only a small number of remote villages. By the time Hong Kong returned to China, in 1997, it had become a major international commercial and financial centre. Under British rule, the Chinese population of Hong Kong was largely apolitical. However, people started to taste the fruits of democracy when the British were about to go. From 1997 onwards, following the establishment of Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, many more people became actively interested in politics, as evidenced in the July Is1 March, 2003.
As the relevant literature reveals, governments of different countries need to educate their fellow citizens politically in their own way, while individuals have to find their own means of survival that include being politically socialized into society. Among the different agents of political socialization, school is very important, for it socializes the students politically in a systematic way. From the literature on political socialization, and with reference to the particular situation of Hong Kong, four elements have been argued as essential to political socialization in Hong Kong secondary schools. They are: national identity and consciousness, democracy/ participation, globalization, and critical thinking. This research was conducted in the form of qualitative case studies undertaken in two secondary schools in Hong Kong: one “patriotic” school which is generally supposed to be more political, and one “ordinary” school which might be expected to be more apolitical. Findings and lessons were drawn from the fieldwork.
The findings from the researched schools revealed that students on the whole are no longer as weak in their sense of national identity and consciousness as previously. The students of both schools had learnt the importance of democracy and participation. With regard to critical thinking and globalization, however, the students of both schools appeared to be rather weak. It was found that most of the interviewees including the supervisor, principal and teachers of the schools and the parents agreed on the importance of the four elements of political socialization. Hong Kong along with its schools has to find its own place in the new global era. Schools in Hong Kong have a duty to help their students develop fully the suggested essential elements of political socialization. Students have to acquire an identity as citizens in this Hong Kong SAR. The four elements identified in this study would appear to be crucial in achieving this aim.


Ngai, G. S. (2005). What kind of political socialization in secondary schools is needed in Hong Kong in the 21st Century?. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 25, 2023
Keywords Education
Public URL
Award Date 2005-09


Thesis (11 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2005 George Siu-Keung Ngai. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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