05 May, 2023
19 : 00
Mengxue is a general term about Sinic early childhood education date backs in ancient Chinese times. In addition to the popular entry-level readings such as Three Character Classic (《三字經》), the Hundred Surnames (《百家姓》) and the Thousand Character Classic (《千字文》) , Mengxue also covers astronomy, geography, historical allusions, ethics and religion, food, clothing, shelter and transportation, etc., it is the foundation and sum of Chinese world view, human relations view, and universe view.
From 5 May 2023, the Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (“YCCECE”) is holding the “ First International Conference on Early Childhood Education and Mengxue” at the Yew Chung International School – Secondary at Kowloon Tong for three days. It has invited over 30 scholars from diverse disciplines of literature, history, language, communication, sports, digital technology, psychology, education, sociology, law and medicine, to explore topics of public concern including Values and Attempts of New Mengxue in the 21st Century, Child Protection Legislation and Family Support System Development, and Assessment Mechanisms for Quality Early Childhood Education and Teacher Training. It aims to highlight Hong Kong’s position as a cultural hub that connects the East and the West, the past and the present.
The conference was officiated by Professor Kai Xu, Deputy Director-General, Department of Educational and Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Dr Betty Chan, Chairperson, YCCECE Board of Governors, and Professor Allan Yuen, President of YCCECE. Professor Xu pointed out key takeaways from his officiating speech: First, to inherit the essence, keep the integrity and innovation, and promote the modernisation of Chinese Enlightenment; second, based in Hong Kong, learn from others' strengths, and promote the localisation of international advanced education concepts; third, to build bridges, expand dissemination, and promote the internationalisation of early childhood education in Hong Kong and Mengxue.
Dr. Christine Choi, Secretary for Education, HKSAR Government was invited to be the officiating guest. In her video-taped opening speech, she quoted words by the People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping that educating and guiding the young children to set great aspirations and cultivate a beautiful mind and live better lives are all for a better Chinese nation.
She said, “as the key component of Chinese culture, Mengxue is the basic source
of the traditional Chinese nation's world view and values. The HKSAR Government has specially set up Chinese culture promotion subsidies for kindergartens and vigorously promote the integration of Chinese culture into the early childhood education curriculum, from food, art, architecture to morality and ethics, and strive to promote Mengxue in early childhood education. She looks forward to this symposium to build a broad and diverse future of early childhood education through exchanges between academia, education and major professional circles.
Following the simple but grand Opening Ceremony is a keynote speech on “The Development of Mengxue in the Twentieth Century” delivered by Dr Yat Yau, Executive Director, Academy of Chinese Studies. He reckoned that Mengxue broadly refers to Sinic Education which is the education component of Chinese civilization. He said, “Li (Rites)” (including Mengxue) and Chinese civilization are mutualistic, both have undergone several "Li and happiness" and restructuring in history. After the Qing government abolished the imperial examination in 1900, especially the cornered New Culture Movement of the May Fourth Movement, criticized traditional culture, which made Mengxue face an unprecedented dilemma, and this dilemma is also the dilemma of how Chinese civilization can modernize.
Dr Yau introduced two solutions: first, re-establishing the political order of China's unification; Second, the transformation of national modernization and the re-refining of traditional culture. He specifically mentioned that after 1982, the central government proposed "socialism with Chinese characteristics", which was "more Occidental than Chinese"; By 2007 to the present, it is socialism with Chinese characteristics, reflecting "more Chinese than Occidental". He pointed out that the Chinese etiquette has the connotation of "benevolence", which specifically includes the following meanings:
Dr. Yau pointed out that the lack of excessive laissez-faire in Chinese cultural values can prevent liberalism from going to extremes.
On the first day of the international conference, a number of fantastic talks were held to discuss the value and attempts of new Mengxue in the 21st century from the aspects of language and writing, digital technology, Mengxue Classics and ideological education. The first symposium was conducted by Professor Chung Mou Si, Professor (Practice), Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong, Professor Kai Wing Chow, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University Dean of Academic Affairs, New Asia Institute of Advanced Chinese Studies, and Dr Chi Kin Au, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Hong Kong Shue Yan University. They express their professional views on the “Mengxue Classics in Modern Times”.
Professor Chung Mou Si reckoned that, it is imperative to strengthen the learning of outstanding traditional culture among Hong Kong Mengxue learning, literacy and early childhood education.He also mentioned that in the era when artificial intelligence applications such as ChatGPT are sweeping the world, children should be taught to do things that "only humans can do" to avoid the next generation falling into the trap of not creating value and losing meaning of life. Professor Si also mentioned the compilation and printing of the “Three Character Classic and Modern Society” and “Animated Chinese History for Curious Minds Project” by the Education University of Hong Kong, it aims to arose student’s interest in studying Chinese, improve language proficiency as well as let them recognize, reflect and identify with Chinese culture, and improve cultural self-confidence.
Professor Ka-wing Chow and Dr Chi Kin Au respectively used the method of "the stone of the mountain, can attack the mistake", citing Japanese and Korean people to learn traditional Chinese culture, and Western religions such as Christianity and Islam, both of which have promoted teachings in the form of the Three Character Classics, and there are also women's versions of the Three Character Classic and illustrated versions of the Three Character Classic, showing that the rhyme in the form of the Three Character Classic can stand the test of time and be renewed for a long time for the function of word recognition and enlightenment education.
After the lunch break, Professor Kai Ming Cheng, Emeritus Professor, Honorary Director of the Academic Unit of Social Contexts and Policies of Education, The University of Hong Kong delivered a speech on the topic of "The Future of Chinese Education".
The second symposium was held by Dr Troy Lui, Chief Education Officer of the Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network, Professor Ping Shi, Visiting Professor of Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education, and Dr. Galen Liu, educational psychologist, on " Work Hard Play Hard: Yew Chung Approach and Cultural Education".
This was followed by Professor Chi-pang Lau, Associate Vice-President (Academic and External Relations) of Lingnan University, Dr Ka-man Lee, Head of Department of Journalism and Communication at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, and Dr Ching Hui, Director of the Mengxue Institute YCCECE, for the third symposium on " Cultural Conservation in the Digital Age".
The First The First International Conference on Early Childhood Education and Mengxue will continue to be held at the YCIS Auditorium in Kowloon Tong on both 6 May and 7 May, to focus on themes “Child Protection Legislation and Family Support System Development” and “Assessment Mechanisms for Quality Early Childhood Education and Teacher Training” respectively. For more details and registration: https://ecemx.yccece.edu.hk
(From left) Dr. Betty Chan, Chairperson of YCCECE Board of Governors and Chairperson of YCEF, Professor Kai Xu, Deputy Director-General, Department of Educational and Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Professor Allan Yuen, President of YCCECE.
Dr. Christine Choi, Secretary for Education, HKSAR Government said in her video-taped officiating speech that “As an important part of Chinese culture, Mengxue is the basic source of the traditional Chinese nation's world outlook and values.”
The conference was officiated by Professor Kai Xu, Deputy Director-General, Department of Educational and Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He stressed in his speech that promotion on the internationalisation of early childhood education in Hong Kong and Mengxue shall continue.
Teacher from YCCECE shows Professor Kai Xu, Deputy Director-General, Department of Educational and Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China the interactive workshop that run by “Mobile PPDS” – a living lab of the YCCECE.
Dr Yat Yau, Executive Director, Academy of Chinese Studies delivered a keynote speech on “The Development of Mengxue in the Twentieth Century” on the first day of the international conference.