Flag, anthem rules for schools in tune with times

Schools must hold flag-raising ceremonies every week while singing the national anthem as well as display the national flag on each school day from January 1, according to the Education Bureau.

The bureau yesterday issued guidelines to all kindergartens, primary, secondary and special schools, on the display of the national and SAR flags, and the singing of the national anthem during the flag-raising ceremony.

This came after the National Flag and National Emblem (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 was gazetted and came into effect on Friday.

The ordinance requires Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung to give directions to include the national flag and national emblem in primary and secondary education as well as give directions to schools for the daily display of the national flag and the national flag-raising ceremony being held weekly.

From January 1, schools must display the national flag on each school day as well as on New Year’s Day, the HKSAR establishment day on July 1 and National Day on October 1. Schools should also display the regional flag alongside the national flag if there are adequate flagpoles.

Schools have to hold a national flag-raising ceremony every week and on the same special days or the preceding or following school day. The national anthem should be played and sung in a national flag-raising ceremony, the bureau said. They are also strongly suggested to be conducted on important days and occasions, such as graduation, swimming galas or sports days,” a spokesman for the bureau said.

“As far as conditions permit, kindergartens should, having considered factors such as availability of space, facilities and environment, follow the requirements for primary and secondary schools on displaying the national flag and regional flag, and conducting a national flag-raising ceremony so that students can learn about them from an early age.”

International schools and other private primary, secondary schools and kindergartens offering solely non-local curricula are encouraged to follow such practices based on their actual school circumstances “in order to enable students of different ethnicities or nationalities to learn about the culture and history of the country where they live.”

For post-secondary education institutions, the ordinance states that they must make reference to the directions given to primary and secondary schools. The bureau issued a letter to the institutions to remind them of their responsibilities under the law.

Yeung said the national flag and the flag-raising ceremony are an important part of education and can help students develop a sense of belonging to the country and a sense of national identity, as well as to promote patriotism.

Yeung said the national flag education can guide students to study Chinese culture, history and the country’s development. It can help students to value attitudes like respect, etiquette, discipline, solidarity and cooperation.

A number of schools have formed a flag-raising team and hold flag-raising ceremonies regularly, he said, such as Fuk Wing Street Government Primary School in Sham Shui Po, which set up its team 15 years ago.

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