Chiiling effect worry on 'indy' warning

Local | Carain Yeung 16 Aug 2016

Teachers should bear the responsibility and consequences if they promote Hong Kong independence in schools, the Education Bureau has warned.

This comes after the Hong Kong Academy of School Managers asked the bureau on Sunday to prosecute teachers who advocate separatism.

"We urge the Education Bureau to enforce laws on education sector members who are violating their responsibilities, conduct and the Education Ordinance, and those whose behavior is not up to the standard for teachers," the academy said.

The bureau said advocacy for independence should not emerge at all on campuses and any discussions on the issue should be based on the Basic Law.

School boards can follow up on the cases if they find teachers spreading these views.

The bureau also said the teachers' registration would be reviewed if they have engaged in any misconduct or illegal behavior.

Earlier this month, Studentlocalism, a group formed by secondary students who advocate independence, called on their Facebook page for their peers who support the same notion to set up concern groups at their schools and run for the student union elections in the coming school year.

"The bureau's 'guidance' or 'warning' is beyond our expectations," said Tony Chung Hon-lam, one of the group's conveners.

Chung said he expected the bureau to "exert pressure" on schools to "clamp down on independence thoughts in campus" but he did not expect the teachers to be the target.

Cheung Yui-fai, a vice president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, worries the bureau's warning will have a chilling effect.

Cheung said the topic of identity is included in the liberal studies curriculum and teachers have to let students know how the different identities are formed during discussions.

More than 10 people yesterday protested at the teachers' union office in Mong Kok, accusing it of allowing thoughts of independence in schools and misleading pupils.

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