A critical study of the development of school music education in Hong Kong, 1945-1997
Hong Kong school music education has a very short history of about 50 years, beginning in 1945 immediately after the Second World War. It gradually evolved from practically no provision of music lessons to a well-structured system under the British administration until 1997 when sovereignty over Hong Kong was returned to China. This historical research aims to study and evaluate the development of the music education system, from which the music curriculum was organised and implemented. The causes and effects of government education and arts policies relating to the development of music in primary and secondary schools have been studied and evaluated. They have indirectly affected the supply and quality of music teachers, as well as the design and implementation of the music curriculum. Issues related to Hong Kong's political, social, economic, and cultural aspects have been identified and anlaysed so as to formulate a background for an understanding of how the enterprise of school music education in Hong Kong has developed. The research has gone through two phases. In the first phase, it aimed to find out any direct influence of British Government education policies upon school music education in Hong Kong. Literature such as British education acts, reports and colonial correspondence was analysed and interviews with key figures in the education field in Hong Kong were conducted. However, evidence from the two countries has shown no direct influence of the British administration on the development of school music education in Hong Kong. The research then, in its second phase, re-focused the approach by studying the local development of school music education. In this phase, apart from analysing reading material from government reports, reference books/journals on education and music education, music syllabuses as well as curriculum support material, three questionnaire surveys were conducted carried out to solicit views and opinions from frontline teachers, music inspectors and other professionals. In addition, interviews with government officials in Hong Kong and China have provided the researcher with a deeper insight into the development of school music education in Hong Kong. The research findings are that since the inclusion of Music as a subject in the school curriculum by British expatriates, the music education system and curriculum content in Hong Kong have been modelled on Western practice with no explicit education policies from the government. Furthermore, the inadequate allocation of human and financial resources for quality school music education has meant that school music education has developed under difficult circumstances. There has also been insufficient expertise in the education field to guide the design of the school music curriculum to meet local needs. As a result, a lot of out-dated curriculum content has been retained. Finally, as a result of a non-active attitude towards music in schools, parents and the community have provided inadequate fertilization for an artistic environment in which music learning might have flourished.