HONG KONG: Disillusioned teachers, who feel threatened by Beijing’s strict national security law enacted in June 2020, are leaving Hong Kong.
“I told my school that if one day some students chanted slogans downstairs and I had to call the police to arrest my own students, I couldn’t do that,” said Fong, a 45-year-old teacher. years old who emigrated to the UK.
Teachers are leaving the profession at twice the normal rate this year, according to school principals contacted by Reuters.
Last July, the Hong Kong Secondary School Principals’ Association warned the government that a “brain drain” would reduce the quality of education in Hong Kong.
“The educational environment has changed dramatically over the past two years,” Principal Samuel Cheng of United Christian College – Kowloon East told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Bureau of Education told Reuters that the national security law had not affected the education sector or the quality of teaching, saying teachers had left the schools. schools to pursue other jobs or studies or for other personal reasons.
However, the Professional Teachers’ Union, Hong Kong’s largest union before its dissolution, said a survey in May showed 40% of teachers plan to leave schools.
Chinese leaders focused on reforming Hong Kong’s education system, saying the often violent pro-democracy protests of 2019 were led by local youth.
In February, Hong Kong imposed a new school curriculum requiring children aged 6 and over to familiarize themselves with China and the new National Security Law. In addition, Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam said teachers who are “bad apples” must be removed from schools.
Prior to the dissolution of the teachers’ union, former president Fung Wai-wah told Reuters: “The education sector is affected because those with experience are leaving en masse.”