Hong Kong’s Education Bureau has published new guidelines for teachers requiring them to have a “correct understanding” of the Beijing-imposed national security law as well as of the Basic Law constitution.
The “Guidelines on Teachers’ Professional Conduct” apply to all registered teachers in the city, and those deemed to have committed serious misconduct will be disqualified for life, the bureau said.
“The core mission of education is cultivating values and nurturing people. Teachers are role models for students,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.
“Their words and deeds, conduct and values have a profound impact on students. The pursuit of professionalism and commitment to upholding high moral standards of teachers should be well integrated such that students can be nurtured with correct moral values.”
Authorities have exerted closer controls over teachers and the curriculum since the 2019 protests and unrest, in which young people played a prominent part.
Teachers are told to report to the school management, the police or relevant departments if they receive any information that might be illegal or “violate the moral standards commonly accepted in society,” or if they uncover any potential illegal activities.
They are barred from encouraging any speech that “violates the social order” or spreading any such message to students, or inciting students to engage in illegal or anti-social order activities.
Teachers should also not choose study material based on personal views incompatible with the guidelines, or teach “biased values” to students. They should use social media platforms cautiously, and be responsible for information shared or published on those platforms.
Examples of teachers who have already been disqualified were given in the guidelines, including one who “used a large amount of biased materials” to teach Liberal Studies, a subject which has now been replaced by a subject called Citizenship and Social Development for most secondary school students.
“Also, the contents of the teaching materials included false comments, extreme ideology that spreads hate, and viewpoints that belittle the country, which can easily incite readers’ discontent towards the country and its people.”
The education bureau, in documents submitted to the Legislative Council, said it received 344 complaints related to the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests – 77 per cent of a total of 445 reports of “suspected professional misconduct” received from 2019 to 2021.
Six teachers were disqualified over complaints linked to the protests, the documents showed.
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