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Parents clash with educators over simplified versus traditional Chinese characters

An attempt by Macao’s Sacred Heart Canossian College to introduce simplified characters from next year sparked complaints from parents
  • Macao’s top education official says schools need to balance both the development of students and the views of parents

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UPDATED: 25 Jun 2024, 8:28 am

A row is brewing over whether traditional or simplified Chinese characters should be taught in local schools.

The brouhaha comes in the wake of complaints by parents of students at the Sacred Heart Canossian College, which said it would use simplified characters for primary students starting from the next academic year.

Following the dispute, which sparked a firestorm on Macao social media, the head of the Education and Youth Development Bureau (known by its Portuguese initials DSEDJ), said local students should know both traditional and simplified character forms. 

[See more: A guide to international schools in Macao

According to a report in Macau Post Daily, Kong Chi Meng has attempted to defuse the argument, saying “All along education in Macau has always been diversified, allowing schools to choose teaching materials in accordance with their own school-based characteristics, the professionalism of their teachers, as well as the needs of students’ growth and their parents’ views.”

Traditional characters are used in Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan and many overseas Chinese communities. Simplified characters, introduced to improve literacy, are used on the Chinese mainland. 

The Sacred Heart Canossian College says it will now revert to using traditional Chinese characters for new primary students. However, they will be introduced to simplified Chinese characters in some subjects. 

UPDATED: 25 Jun 2024, 8:28 am

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