Published online 8 July 2009 | Nature 460, 163 (2009) | doi:10.1038/460163a

News in Brief

Evolution wins out in Hong Kong curriculum dispute

Hong Kong's Education Bureau has vindicated biologists — and disappointed creationists — by clarifying its guidelines for teaching biology in secondary schools.

Debate had been raging since February over the revamped curriculum, to go into effect in September, which "in addition to Darwin's theory" encourages the teaching of "other explanations for evolution and the origins of life". Some scientists worried the clause implied support for creationism and intelligent design, which are already taught in many of Hong Kong's religious schools (see Nature 457, 1067; 2009).

A five-page clarification, released on 22 June, said that studies of the origin of life should focus on Darwinism and that "other explanations" referred to alternative theories of evolution, such as those put forth by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Alfred Russel Wallace.

The biology curriculum does not include the teaching of creationism, intelligent design and "non-scientific explanations", the document says. Teachers may still choose to cover topics beyond the guidelines, however. 

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