With the introduction of 15-year free education in Macau and several provinces in Mainland China in recent years, a heated debate has broken out in Hong Kong over the proposal of providing free pre-primary education in addition to the existing 12-year free education at primary and secondary levels. A sea of different views has been voiced via various media since 2010 and the debate persists. In an attempt to help reconcile the ceaseless debate, this study was executed to delineate the major reasons, arguments, and concerns put forth by different parties in the debate. To this end, a set of online content analyses was conducted. The findings suggested that members of the community tended to support the implementation of 15-year free education, but several fundamental issues have been neglected by the supporting party and addressing these issues would be imperative. In light of the present findings, this study has identified the common interests shared by the supporters and opponents of the proposal which could offer a new light to understanding this debate. It is hoped that the findings and discussion could provide insights into how the issues concerned could be resolved, and in the long run, contribute to the development of pre-primary education in Hong Kong.
This special issue collects six interesting case studies on the so-called 15-year free education in four Chinese societies including Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, and Taiwan. The selected works analyze the target education policies based on the theoretical framework of 3A2S—affordability, accessibility, accountability, sustainability, and social justice. Together, they provide a multifaceted account of the merits and limitations of the 15-year free education policies implemented in Greater China. The authors examine the education policies in their respective socioeconomic contexts and aim to suggest new research agenda for early childhood education in these Greater Chinese societies.