The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) has urged teachers to boycott the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) in this academic year, in response to a notice from the Education Bureau sent to all schools last week.

The notice from the Education Bureau (EDB) sent last Friday called on schools to stop additional classes and excessive exercises to prepare for the tests for primary three students this year.

The HKPTU issued a statement on Sunday condemning the EDB for trying to distance itself from the issue and shift the focus by putting the responsibility on schools and their boards.

“[The EDB] attempted to break the trust between parents and schools, to create opposition and cause a split between schools and parents,” the statement read.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union has urged teachers to boycott the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment. Photo: Facebook/HKPTU.

It demanded the EDB face its responsibility for the TSA issue, and stop the tests during this academic year so that excessive exercises could cease and the curriculum could return to normal.

The union urged teachers to boycott the TSA tests, including not writing test papers and not participating as markers. It also said it will consider actively cooperating with parents if they decide to boycott TSA tests, and will urge schools to understand their actions.

“The HKPTU hopes the education sector can uphold its professional spirit in education, as far as possible, to refuse cooperating with the wicked conduct of the Education Bureau, in order not to aid in continuing the bad impact of the alienating and corrupting TSA.” the statement concluded.

The EDB said that the boycott call by the HKPTU would only spread negative sentiments in schools and would not help with the culture of excessive practice in particular schools.

The bureau said that the HKPTU’s action against following up with problematic practice in schools was contradicting its call for a solution to the problem of excessive practice for TSA.

Undersecretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said that it was too early to decide on boycott action as the TSA tests will only be held in the middle of next year.

Yeung added that he was confident the review committee on the issue would have a preliminary view on the subject in January or February, and then there would be measures to improve the situation.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.