Hong Kong’s new education chief Kevin Yeung has defended enrolling his children in an international school. He says that they would have been unused to the local education system after his family returned to Hong Kong following a government posting in Australia.

When Yeung was appointed as undersecretary for education in 2012, local media reported that his children attended an international school in Hong Kong.

Secretary for Education Mr Kevin Yeung Yun-hung.
Kevin Yeung. File photo: GovHK.

Yeung dismissed questions during a Commercial Radio programme on Thursday as to whether this signalled that he lacked confidence in the local education system.

“I didn’t choose [an international school] because of confidence,” he said. “At the time I was sent to work in Australia, so when I came back my primary concern was whether my kids would get used to the Hong Kong education system.”

According to Apple Daily, Yeung was posted to work in Hong Kong’s trade office in Sydney in 2006, and he returned some time before 2010.  His two children, aged 18 and 19, are now at university.

“I have two kids, but maybe if one of them went to a local school, they would have done even better,” he added.

Yeung told Commercial Radio that the fact he attended a local school and his children attended an international school gives him a point of comparison between the two systems. He said he could learn from overseas education systems when it comes to reducing student stress, and developing their interests.

students hong kong education
File photo: Stand News.

Yeung added that he was unlikely to go on as many overseas work trips as his predecessor. Eddie Ng’s 60 work trips during his tenure from 2012 to 2017 attracted criticism, and earned him the nickname “secretary for vacations.”

See also: Hong Kong education chief Eddie Ng feels ‘wronged and upset’ by criticism of his 60 overseas work trips

“[60 trips in five years] means on average once per month, so I think the likelihood of that happening is very low,” said Yeung.

He added that work inside Hong Kong is of greater importance, and he would only go overseas out of necessity.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.