Education Bureau
Emblem of the Hong Kong SAR
Agency overview
Jurisdiction Hong Kong
Headquarters11/F, East Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
Minister responsible
Deputy Minister responsible
  • Under Secretary for Education
Agency executive
  • Michelle Li, Permanent Secretary for Education
Child agencies
  • University Grants Committee Secretariat
  • Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency
Education Bureau
Education and Manpower Bureau
Traditional Chinese教育統籌局
Simplified Chinese教育统筹局
Education Department

The Education Bureau (EDB) is responsible for formulating and implementing education policies in Hong Kong.

The bureau is headed by the Secretary for Education and oversees agencies including University Grants Committee and Student Finance Office.


Logo of Education Department

The Education Department (教育署 and 教育司署 before 1983) was responsible for education matters in the territory, with the exception of post-secondary and tertiary education. In 2003, the department was abolished and a new bureau, the Education and Manpower Bureau (教育統籌局 abbreviated EMB) was formed. In July 2007, under newly re-elected Chief Executive Donald Tsang, the manpower portfolio was split away to the new Labour and Welfare Bureau, leaving this body as the Education Bureau.[1] The bureau was formerly housed at the Former French Mission Building.

In 2022, the Education Bureau introduced the Citizenship and Social Development subject, to replace Liberal Studies as one of the four core subjects in senior secondary education. As part of the subject, students will participate in fully subsidized field trips to mainland China. The trips range from two to five days in duration, with destinations such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hunan. The itinerary for the two-day trips includes visits to the Memorial Museum of Sun Yat-sen's mansion and the former site of the Whampoa Military Academy in Guangzhou. Another two-day trip involves exploring the Deqing Palace, a historical site in Zhaoqing city, where students learn about the ancient imperial examination system and Confucianism.[2]

In August 2023, officials from Hong Kong and Guangdong signed a framework agreement to strengthen education exchanges and cooperation between schools in the two regions. The agreement aimed to promote collaboration and exchanges in education, nurture talent for the development of the Greater Bay Area, and contribute to the development of both regions. It encourages higher education institutions to collaborate on education services, talent cultivation, and technology exchanges.

The agreement also focuses on enhancing cooperation in vocational education, promoting the establishment of sister schools, facilitating exchange activities, and improving the quality of such exchanges. The Vocational Training Council signed a memorandum of understanding with Guangdong to initiate collaborative projects and establish the GBA Vocational Education Park. The agreement also involves Guangdong supporting the VTC's mainland operation center and providing guidance for the GBA Explorer Trip program, which aims to enhance students' understanding of GBA developments.[3]


The bureau mainly consists of seven branches, which are responsible for different policies. Each branch is led by a Deputy Secretary for Education.

The bureau also oversees two child agencies: the University Grants Committee Secretariat and the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency.

Education system

The Education System includes: Kindergarten Education, Primary and Secondary School Education, Special Education, Post-secondary Education, and other Education and Training.[4]


Censorship of textbooks

In August 2020, the Education Bureau, with the aim to "help student develop positive values", made changes to the Liberal Studies textbooks of the six main publishers, who were invited to join the voluntary consultancy service introduced by the bureau in the previous year. The pro-democracy Professional Teachers' Union (PTU) said some teachers received messages from the publishers that the amendments relating to criticizing the mainland Chinese government and some political cartoons were replaced with emphasizing the possible criminal consequences for participants. The union accused that it is practising 'political censorship and "had severely damaged the goals" of setting up the project.[5]

On 5 October 2020, the Education Bureau deregistered a primary school teacher, the teacher was accused of using pro-independence materials, which the Bureau claims is an act of "spreading Hong Kong Independence message". The Professional Teachers Union strongly condemned the teacher's disqualification. In a statement, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union accused the education bureau of failing to conduct a fair investigation. It said the unilateral disqualification and issuing of warning letters to the school were "despicable acts of intimidation of the school management" and were unacceptable.[6]

National Security Education

In February 2021, the Education Bureau, under Kevin Yeung, announced changes to the education system to incorporate the National Security Law.[7] Notices to teachers explained that teachers should educate students as young as 6 years old about the national security law.[7] In response, Ip Kin-yuen, the vice-president of the Professional Teachers' Union, said that he was astounded to see the "vast scope" of the new rules as well as the lack of consultation with teachers before the rules were published.[8]

Later in February 2021, the Education Bureau released a 1,200-word guideline for implementation of the changes, claiming it was "obliged to clarify" so-called misunderstandings by the media when it had announced changes earlier in the month.[9] Ip Kin-yuen responded and said that the guidelines would do little, and that the Education Bureau "should also hold proper consultation sessions among educators and members of the public to explain about the guidelines in detail, listen to their thoughts and opinions, as well as respond to questions and even defend it for themselves if they want".[9]

In March 2021, the government announced that the Education Bureau would begin distributing books to all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, meant to cover topics such as national identity and the national security law.[10]

In July 2022, Education Bureau chief Christine Choi Yuk-lin said that national education is not "brainwashing".[11] Choi also said that Hong Kong students must learn about the history of China's socialist system, and must understand why it is suitable for China.[12] Choi later said that students must learn from Xi Jinping's speech on Hong Kong, and that the Education Bureau would hold sessions with school principals and teachers on the speech.[13] Choi also said that if students show that they want China to do well during flag-raising ceremonies or study tours, then it would meet the target of effective national education.[13] In contrast, Priscilla Leung argued and said about the study tours that "In fact, many students have come back from these visits [saying] they don't believe in what they saw, [they claimed] everything was staged."[13]

In September 2022, the Bureau released the updated Primary Education Curriculum Guide, which suggested between 19 and 25% of the student's lesson time should be devoted to national education and national security education.[14]

In October 2022, the Education Bureau revealed the "Citizenship, Economics and Society" curriculum, designed for students to focus on national identity, the national constitution, and the Basic Law.[15] Other countries' use of democracy and political systems were also removed from the curriculum.[16]

On 24 October 2022, the Education Bureau confirmed that new teachers in public and direct subsidy scheme schools would be required to take a test on national security and the Basic Law, including kindergarten teachers.[17]

In December 2022, the Education Bureau released an inspection report, saying that many schools had failed in teaching national security.[18]

In November 2023, the Bureau released a draft for new science classes that would emphasize China's achievements and the importance to national security.[19]


In July 2022, the University of Hong Kong began requiring students to take a course on the national security law in order to graduate.[20] Students must watch 10 hours of videos and pass an online test in order to complete the mandatory security class.[21]

Other universities, including Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University also began offering courses on national security.[20] The course is listed as a graduation requirement.[21]

Education Bureau chief Christine Choi also said that university student unions were "instigating the anti-China sentiment and hatred toward the Chinese people" during the 2019 Hong Kong protests.[22]

In December 2022, the Education Bureau said that all universities must require students to take courses on national education, stating "Education on the [Chinese] constitution, the Basic Law and the national security law should also form an important part of the university curriculum, with a view to nurturing students into law-abiding and responsible citizens."[23]

Study tour

In March 2021, the Education Bureau revealed that new teachers in Hong Kong would have to travel to mainland China to undergo mandatory training.[24]

In July 2022, the Education Bureau asked secondary schools to create plans for taking students on mainland China study tours.[25]

Liberal studies

In April 2021, a survey by PORI found that more than 60% of Hong Kongers opposed changes to the Liberal Studies course, changes implemented by the Education Bureau after the course came under attack from pro-Beijing figures who claimed the course was used to encourage students to take part in the 2019-20 Hong Kong protests.[26]

In January 2023, trips to mainland China became mandatory for 50,000 Secondary Five students as part of the Liberal Studies course.[27]

The course was renamed as "Citizenship and Social Development," and Hong Kong Free Press reported that teachers had become fearful of critical thinking and discussion.[28]

National flag ceremonies

In October 2021, the Education Bureau revealed new guidelines for implementing national flag ceremonies in schools, stating that it would "promote national education and help students develop a sense of belonging to the country, an affection for the Chinese people and enhance their sense of national identity."[29]

Under the ordinance, Hong Kong's universities, secondary schools and primary schools are required to hold weekly flag-hoisting ceremonies.[14]

In October 2022, after St. Francis Xavier's School suspended 3 students, the Education Bureau was criticized for not providing guidelines on punishment if national flag ceremony rules were broken.[30]


In July 2022, Education Bureau chief Christine Choi said that the city would soon push students to use Putonghua rather than the local language, Cantonese.[31] Choi said that in the future, all classes should be delivered in Putonghua.[31]

British Hong Kong

In August 2022, the Education Bureau claimed that Hong Kong was never a British colony, and that the British did not have sovereignty over Hong Kong.[32]

Music video

In September 2022, the Education Bureau encouraged schools to broadcast a patriotic music video called "On the Young China" and urged teachers, students, and parents to "appreciate" it.[33]

Teacher conduct

In December 2022, the Education Bureau released a set of guidelines on conduct for teachers, which listed protecting national security, social order, and public interest as a priority.[34] In addition, the guidelines stipulated that teachers should promote national education with a correct understanding of the national security law.[34]


In 1998, schools had to adapt to "biliteracy and trilingualism".[35] Pre-1997, 90% of secondary schools taught most subjects in English, and by 2019, only 30% used English.[35]


In March 2023, the Education Bureau said that principals must have a "sense of national identity".[36]


In June 2023, the Education Bureau revised its guidelines, to mandate that government-subsidized schools must include national security terms in their contracts.[37]

Mainland China-based children

In September 2023, SCMP reported that government officials were trying to convince parents from mainland China to send their children to Hong Kong schools, to counter a drop in enrollment in Hong Kong.[38]

See also


  1. ^ Code for the Education Profession of Hong Kong, EDB, 2015
  2. ^ Standard, The. "EDB announces compulsory mainland field trip for secondary 4 - 6 students". The Standard. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  3. ^ Standard, The. "Guangdong opens up on education exchanges". The Standard. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  4. ^ "EDB - Home". Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  5. ^ Chan, Ho-him (20 August 2020). "Hong Kong education chiefs hit back at teachers' union over criticism liberal studies textbook changes amount to political censorship". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 21 August 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Hong Kong primary teacher deregistered "for talking about independence"". The Guardian. 6 October 2020. Archived from the original on 6 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b "'Schools to be responsible for ignoring NSL breach' - RTHK". Archived from the original on 5 February 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  8. ^ "'Consult public on national security education now' - RTHK". Archived from the original on 5 February 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Calling security education "brainwashing" a "malicious" accusation, say officials". South China Morning Post. 22 February 2021. Archived from the original on 23 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  10. ^ "China's textbook series in national education to reach Hong Kong schools | Apple Daily". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Retrieved 22 March 2021.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Standard, The. "National education is not "brainwashing": education secretary". The Standard. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Govt to enhance national security education - RTHK". Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  13. ^ a b c "HK students must learn from Xi Jinping's speech: govt - RTHK". Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  14. ^ a b Mok, Lea (14 September 2022). "Hong Kong's CUHK hosts first weekly flag-raising ceremony to 'promote national education'". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Hong Kong to revise subject for junior secondary pupils to focus on national security". South China Morning Post. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  16. ^ Lee, Peter (14 October 2022). "'Core values,' including democracy, dropped from Hong Kong's new junior secondary school curriculum". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  17. ^ Standard, The. "Teacher's National Security Law test extends to kindergartens". The Standard. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Many Hong Kong schools get failing marks on national security teaching". South China Morning Post. 19 December 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  19. ^ "New science subject to help Hong Kong pupils 'appreciate national achievements'". South China Morning Post. 15 November 2023. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  20. ^ a b Standard, The. "Hong Kong university students must take National Security Law course to graduate". The Standard. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  21. ^ a b Standard, The. "HKU national security course orders 10 hours of videos plus MC test". The Standard. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  22. ^ Lee, Peter (29 July 2022). "Media reports on promoting Mandarin in Hong Kong schools 'inaccurate,' Education Bureau says". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  23. ^ "Universities in Hong Kong to require students to pass national education courses". South China Morning Post. 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Hong Kong to send new teachers to China for national security education | Apple Daily". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  25. ^ Leung, Hillary (8 July 2022). "Hong Kong schools to submit plans for mainland study tours as part of overhauled liberal studies course". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  26. ^ "Survey shows Hongkongers oppose changes to Liberal Studies subject as gov't endorses new name". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 2 April 2021. Archived from the original on 2 April 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  27. ^ "Hong Kong students will be able to do 1-day trips to mainland China for subject". South China Morning Post. 18 January 2023. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  28. ^ Lee, Peter (30 April 2023). "As bell tolls for Hong Kong's Liberal Studies, teachers fear for critical thinking and open discussion - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP". Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  29. ^ "Hong Kong schools must hold national flag ceremonies at least once a week". South China Morning Post. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  30. ^ Li, Almond (12 October 2022). "Hong Kong schools need clearer penalty guidelines for students who disrespect flag raising, lawmaker says". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  31. ^ a b Standard, The. "Hong Kong to cancel Cantonese taught Chinese when conditions are met, says education chief". The Standard. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  32. ^ "Hong Kong was never colony during British occupation: education authorities". South China Morning Post. 2 August 2022. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Hong Kong schools encouraged to play patriotic video ahead of National Day". South China Morning Post. 21 September 2022. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  34. ^ a b "Govt issues to-do, not-to-do lists for teachers - RTHK". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  35. ^ a b "Good English is Hong Kong's passport back to the world community". South China Morning Post. 15 December 2022. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  36. ^ Leung, Hillary (2 March 2023). "Education Bureau adds 'sense of national identity' to requirements for aspiring Hong Kong school principals". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  37. ^ Cheng, Mandy. "Government-aided schools in Hong Kong must include national security terms in tender, quotation contracts - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP". Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  38. ^ "Opinion | Hong Kong cannot afford to fail in education as pupil numbers fall". South China Morning Post. 6 September 2023. Retrieved 6 September 2023.