Institute of Education


Education and social conflict in Hong Kong

26 November 2019, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm

No China extradition

In this Forum on Education in Asia seminar, Professor Bob Adamson provides an historical overview of the role of education and its relationship to social conflict in Hong Kong.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Christine Han


Nunn Hall
UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
20 Bedford Way

Social tensions and conflicts in Hong Kong have been a strong feature of the past decade, as the realities of the “One Country Two Systems” principle in practice impact upon the aspirations of citizens, many of whom have experienced a “world-class” education.

Public demonstrations of discontent have followed post-colonial education reforms such as the language-in-education policy and the introduction of a moral and national education curriculum. Meanwhile, larger anti-government movements, including the Umbrella Movement and the recent protests against the extradition bill, have been associated by some commentators with the new Liberal Studies curriculum, praised by some for promoting critical thinking and criticised by others for facilitating biased teaching.

This presentation offers a brief historical overview of education in Hong Kong, noting that, although the violence and disruption caused by some protests since 1997 have alarmed people who characterize Hong Kong as a safe and stable city, riots were also a feature of the colonial era, and education was often viewed as a means of quelling disquiet. Professor Adamson will also look at perceptions of education as the trigger, facilitator and antidote to social tension in Hong Kong, and suggest that such connotations are superficial explanations, reflecting and being co-opted by forces of deeper divisions.


About the Speaker

Bob Adamson

Chair Professor of Curriculum Reform (Department of International Education, The Education University of Hong Kong) and also Visiting Professor at UCL Institute of Education.