Hong Kong Senior Secondary Liberal Studies

Liberal Studies is one of four compulsory subjects in the New Senior Secondary Curriculum, which was introduced in Hong Kong schools in 2009, with the first candidates sitting public exams in 2012. This guide outlines the core and elective components of the syllabus which has been proposed by the Curriculum Development Council and approved by the Education and Manpower Bureau, together with suggested questions for discussion and further study and recommended websites for further reading. The guide also outlines study tips for the subject.

Liberal Studies is currently an optional A/S Level subject. The aim of making the subject compulsory is to ensure that all students develop an understanding of the major issues confronting our society in the 21st century and that they are equipped with the critical thinking skills that they need in order to make informed, critical judgments about these issues.

The subject contains elements of science, the humanities and the liberal arts and it also serves to ensure that all students have some degree of breadth in their senior secondary studies.

Areas of Study


Self and Personal Development


Personal Identity and Preparing for Adulthood

  • How do people develop a sense of personal identity and how does this change as they grow older?
  • How do people change physically, mentally and emotionally during adolescence, and how do they cope with these changes?
  • What support is available in Hong Kong to help adolescents cope with the challenges presented by the transition to adulthood?

Useful Resources


Youth Culture

Teens Physical and Mental Health Information Website

Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong

The Individual and Society

  • How is an individual's self-esteem related to his or her sense of belonging to a family, a school, a place of work, a profession, an organisation or club, and to society?
  • What is the nature of the relationship between individuals and society?
  • What fundamental rights do we enjoy as members of a society?
  • What responsibilities do we have towards society?
  • How do these rights and responsibilities change as we grow into adulthood?

Useful Resources Society



UN Declaration on Human Rights

Interpersonal Relationships and Resolving Conflicts


Society and Culture


Hong Kong Today


Quality of Life


Questions for discussion

  • What factors affect the quality of life in Hong Kong?
  • What is the relationship between economic prosperity and quality of life?
  • How important are family, health, money, career opportunities, education, a clean environment, opportunities for leisure and cultural experiences for quality of life?
  • To what extent should the government be responsible for quality of life? To what extent is it the responsibility of businesses and of individuals as citizens, producers and consumers?

Useful Resources

Environmental Problems in Hong Kong

The World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Government

Economic Restructuring


Questions for Discussion

  • How and why has Hong Kong's economy changed in recent years?
  • As Hong Kong increasingly becomes a high-value service economy, what are the consequences for young people in terms of their career prospects and of the skills that they will need?
  • What opportunities, challenges and threats face the Hong Kong economy as a consequence of globalisation and of demographic shifts such as gender imbalance and an aging population?
  • How should Hong Kong respond to these challenges? To what extent should finding solutions be the responsibility of the government, of businesses or of individuals?

Useful Resources

Economy of Hong Kong

Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement

Pearl River Delta

Rule of Law and Participation in Society and Politics


Questions for Discussion

  • What rights do Hong Kong residents enjoy?
  • How are these rights safeguarded?
  • Which form of government would be best for Hong Kong?
  • How should the government strike a balance between aspirations for democracy and concerns about maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability?
  • In what ways can people express their opinions about how Hong Kong is governed?
  • What forms of protest are acceptable? What forms of protest are unacceptable?

Useful Resources

Recent History of Hong Kong

Government of Hong Kong

Politics of Hong Kong

Basic Law

Elections in Hong Kong

Human Rights in Hong Kong

Amnesty International Hong Kong

Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor

International Freedom of Expression Exchange




Flag of Hong Kong

Modern China


Reform and Opening Up of China


Chinese Government

Chinese Economy

Cultural Revolution

Open Door Policy

Special Economic Zones

Deng Xiaoping

Jiang Zemin

Hu Jintao

Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989

Falun Gong

2008 Beijing Olympics

Shanghai World Expo 2010

Chinese Culture and Modern Life


Chinese culture

Pop culture

Western consumer culture




Questions for Discussion

  • What challenges and opportunities are created by globalization?
  • How does globalization affect the economy, culture, society and political aspirations of different countries?
  • Is globalization the same thing as westernization?
  • Is the western model of economically developed liberal democracy one that all countries should aspire to? Is such a social/ economic model compatible with non-western cultures?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of global free trade from the point of view of developed and developing countries?
  • Is free trade the same thing as fair trade?

Useful resources


World Trade Organization

United Nations

Hungry Planet

Science, Technology and the Environment


Public Health and Biotechnology


What is good health and what measures can people take in order to remain fit, healthy and free from disease?

To what extent is public health the responsibility of governments or of individuals?

What are the potential threats to public health at present and what can be done to minimize the risk of these developing into pandemics?

Is it acceptable for individual freedoms to be limited in order to protect public health? To what extent? For example, should smoking in public places be banned?

What are the potential health benefits and risks of recent developments in biotechnology?

What are the ethical implications of these developments?





Avian Influenza

World Health Organization




Therapeutic Cloning

Gene therapy

Stem cell research

Genetically modified food

Hong Kong Health, Welfare and Food Bureau

Energy Technology and the Environment


Energy Technology


The Environment and Sustainable Development


Useful Links:

Global warming

Sustainable development


Fossil fuels

Other energy topics


species Endangered species

Independent Enquiry










Information and Communication Technology