Driven by the steady increase of the Muslim population, ethnic Muslims in Hong Kong have been desperately seeking physical space for daily prayer and reciting Qur’an. Out of the strong religious aspiration, many small-scale madrasah (‘housques’) have been flourishing in many parts of Hong Kong in recent years. Based on my ongoing ethnographic fieldwork, it is found that ethnic Muslim families (majority Pakistani) eagerly expect their next generation to preserve heritage tradition. While Islamic religious teachers teaching students Islamic practices and reciting Qur’an at madrasah in the evening, young ethnic Muslim students at the same time are exposed to the Chinese public education in the daytime. Grounding inter-Asian connections between Pakistan and China’s Hong Kong, this research focuses on the impacts of growing interactivity of teaching and learning across the Belt and Road. On one hand, it aims at understanding how ethnic Muslim students learn in-between spiritual and secular worldviews from two different teaching traditions. On the other hand, it also explores how religious teachers in madrasah and Chinese teachers in public schools teach by engaging dialogue with each other, and finally how they learn from each other.
Ho, Wai-Yip (2020) “Changing Religious Education in Hong Kong: Emergence of Madrasah Learning” in Kerry J. Kennedy and John Chi-Kin Lee (eds.) Religious Education in Asia: Spiritual Diversity in Globalized Times. London: Routledge, pp. 46-58.
This chapter firstly provides a brief historical overview on the transformation of religious education in Hong Kong. Throughout British colonial era to China’s resumption of sovereignty, the role of religion has been largely overlooked in making the Hong Kong society, and religious education as a marginal academic subject in the formal curriculum in education. Nevertheless, the chapter brings out the importance of religious education is not diminishing in Hong Kong society. It is, however, the importance of the subject matter has been increasingly recognized given its intrinsic value in empowering student’s resilience in coping with life challenges and depressing social environment, which cannot be provided by the core academic subjects. Lastly, by considering the case of increasing demand of Islamic education externally and internally, this chapter concludes new scenario sets an alternative aspiration for spirituality and religious education in future Hong Kong.