Teachers' union calls for school boycott

Top News | Stella Wong 13 Jun 2019

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union yesterday launched a class boycott for all schools this week due to the "rapidly deteriorating situation" - but the move came under heavy criticism from parents.

The union earlier planned to meet with school representatives on Saturday to discuss a suspension of classes.

But since Legco president Andrew Leung said the extradition bill will be voted on next Thursday, the union moved the start of the class boycott to yesterday.

It called on all secondary school teachers to skip classes and hold discussions with their respective institutions. It also urged primary school teachers and teaching staff in tertiary institutions to join the boycott.

"The union hopes schools will understand that boycotting classes and teaching is an important decision at this difficult time. Please support the decision of principals and teachers," it said.

The Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools opposed the class boycott, but believes arrangements can be done for students who miss exams.

Teddy Tang Chun-keung, chairman of the association, said a small number of students joined the boycott yesterday, but added there may be more today.

The association said it was "extremely heartbreaking" to see injuries in yesterday's protest and urged schools to offer help to students who feel troubled by the events.

Parents slammed the union's call online.

"Ridiculous! Learning should not be affected no matter what political stance you hold," one parent wrote in a forum.

Another said: "Students are not mature enough. If they join the protest, their families will be very worried. They may be incited by others at the protest."

One asked the union to "let students finish exams before opposing the extradition bill."

Meanwhile, with blocked roads disrupting exams and classes yesterday, most schools said they will not change their exam schedules.

St Joseph's College, an elite school on Kennedy Road in Mid Levels, said it would postpone the S1 English and S3 mathematics exams as a result of the "traffic issues around Admiralty."

At Queen's College, about 30 students sat their exams wearing black, while some students distributed white ribbons at the entrance.

St Mary's Canossian College said students who were absent yesterday will not be given make-up exams.

Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, which operates numerous schools, opposed class boycotts and Ying Wa College said all exams will be held as scheduled.

The Education Bureau called on schools to exercise flexibility when handling individual students' tardiness or absences as attendance may be affected by abnormal traffic conditions in Wan Chai, Central and Western District.

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts announced that it will temporarily close its campus to ensure the safety of staff and students. It expects to reopen on Monday.

Presidents from 10 university and tertiary institutions issued a joint statement, pleading for calm and urging everyone to work rationally towards resolving the impasse.

The institutions are led by the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University and University of Science and Technology.

stellast.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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