thousands of teachers of the schools of Hong Kong they have resigned to their posts in the last year in an exodus that coincides with the implementation, by the Chinese government, of a “patriotic education” model similar to mainland China.
The number of teachers who ceased their activity in schools in the last academic year amounted to 6,500, which brings the total figure to almost 12,000 since 2021according to the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post.
According to the Ministry of Education of the former colony, during the academic year that began last September, a total of 3,540 teachers from public primary and secondary schools have left their posts without waiting to retire.
The figure is 28% higher than that registered the previous academic year and more than double compared to 2020-21.
The implementation of the National Security Law after the massive anti-government protests of 2019 also put schools under scrutiny, since the authorities consider that the massive participation of secondary and high school students in those events reflected a “failure” of the educational system .
TIANANMEN IS NO LONGER DEBATE
“As soon as the government decided that it was going to apply this measure to control the protesters, we were informed of how the National Security Law would affect our discussions with the students,” he told EFE an English teacher working at an international school.
The teacher, who asked not to reveal his identity, explained that in some subjects the situation was “a real problem.”
“For example, if you teach history, the Tiananmen Square massacre was a key component of the course. However, now all discussion about it is alibi“, lament.
In his opinion, “since Hong Kong is the first safe destination for many expatriates, even a slight tightening of government control has made people feel unsafe.”
However, he specified that for teachers who have carried out their work in more troubled countries such as Venezuela, the change “has not been a big problem.”
The situation is illustrated in particular by the subject of “Liberal Studies”a subject inherited from the British system in which students debate political and social issues to encourage critical thinking and broad-mindedness, and which made the former colony’s pro-Beijing faction particularly uncomfortable.
The subject is now called “citizenship and social development”, and has the objective of instilling patriotism and respect for the law by studying topics such as the Chinese Constitution.
STUDENTS ALSO IN DESCENT
Regarding the student population, an analysis of the South China Morning Post made from official data revealed a decrease of 17,373 students of infant and primary education in the current school year, compared to the previous year.
Hong Kong’s chief executive, John Lee, declared last October that aspiring public school teachers must pass an exam on the National Security Law.
In addition, the kindergartens will receive grants for activities that facilitate learning about Chinese culture, in an effort to foster a sense of belonging to China.
Meanwhile, the head of China’s State Council (Executive) Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, emphasized education in a speech on the occasion of National Security Education Day on Saturday.
The official warned, alluding to the demonstrations, about the persistence of “undercurrents” of discontent, and advised residents to remain vigilant to avoid a return of violence to public life.
(With information from EFE)
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