Survey shows 2 in 5 Hong Kong teachers plan to quit due to political pressure

2021.05.09
Survey shows 2 in 5 Hong Kong teachers plan to quit due to political pressure

Hong Kong’s growing political suppression has taken a toll on the education sector, with a recent survey showing that two in five teachers cite it as a main reason for quitting.

Close to 20% of 1,200 school teachers and principals polled said they would resign or retire early. The survey was conducted by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, the city’s largest educators’ organization, between April 29 and May 5.

Another 21% of respondents planned to quit and leave the education sector altogether, of which 71% cited increased political pressure on teachers as the main reason.

Such pressure included pro-Beijing groups’ criticisms of teachers, authorities’ tightened grip on educators’ speech and behavior as well as suggestions to install CCTV in classrooms, respondents said.

Of those who have been teaching for 21 to 30 years, 48% said they planned to leave the education system. About 84% of these respondents were frustrated by Hong Kong’s political environment and 74% also felt unhappy with the current education system.

Teachers have been put under enormous pressure after education authorities had unfairly handled complaints and ignored opposing voices when drastically changing the liberal studies curriculum in secondary schools, said the union’s president, Fung Wai-wah.

Experienced teachers would continue to leave Hong Kong’s education sector unless the government and pro-Beijing groups stopped their politically motivated attacks, Fung added.

The union had been fielding candidates for the Legislative Council and the Election Committee, the latter of which selects the city’s chief executive.

But after Beijing imposed a radical overhaul of Hong Kong’ electoral system, in effect barring pro-democracy groups from taking part, the union was now unlikely to participate in the elections, Fung said.

The union would discuss with its members and other pro-democracy groups in the summer before making its final decision, he said.

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