A public school teacher is under investigation for allegedly using inappropriate and biased teaching materials, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said on Friday, the third to face an inquiry after two educators were sacked in recent months.

Singtao Daily reported that the teacher under investigation taught in a public school in Kowloon East, and that the Education Bureau was considering cancelling the person’s registration.

student school education uniform
File photo: GovHK.

Yeung confirmed the investigation but gave no details.

It would be the first public school teacher to be disqualified after two teachers – one from a state-aided school and the other from a private school – had their registration cancelled by the government last year.

In the wake of the 2019 mass protests Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke of the need to remove “bad apples” from the education system after several teachers were found to have joined the demonstrations. But critics say the education system has become a scapegoat for the government, which has announced plans to extend national security education in schools.

Following the imposition of the national security law last June, some teachers are said to be fearful of straying away from the curriculum in classrooms.

The Education Bureau told HKFP the case was under investigation under the civil servant disciplinary mechanism. It is unknown which subject the teacher teaches or what materials were considered inappropriate.

Ip Kin-yuen, the vice president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, told HKFP that while the union had received multiple requests for help from public school teachers, the union did not yet know the identity of the teacher in this particular case.

Kevin Yeung
Kevin Yeung. File photo: GovHK.

From June 2019 to October 2020, the Education Bureau received 262 complaints about teacher misconduct related to political events. The bureau said 141 cases out of the 226 completed investigations were found to be valid.

The first disqualification in September last year involved a teacher accused of spreading pro-independence messages to primary school children.

The second was sacked in November for giving pupils a factually incorrect account of the Sino-British Opium War.

As well as losing their jobs, deregistered teachers are banned from school campuses for life.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.