Kevin Yeung dismisses claims of 'lax' investigation - RTHK
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Kevin Yeung dismisses claims of 'lax' investigation

2020-10-07 HKT 11:30
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  • Kevin Yeung says even if students said they didn’t agree with Hong Kong independence, that was not the point. Photo: RTHK
    Kevin Yeung says even if students said they didn’t agree with Hong Kong independence, that was not the point. Photo: RTHK
Education Secretary Kevin Yeung has dismissed claims that the government's investigation of a primary school teacher who was de-registered for using Hong Kong independence materials in class was lax and incomprehensive.

Speaking on an RTHK's Millennium programme, Yeung stressed that a thorough investigation had been conducted, adding that the teacher's written submissions had been carefully considered.

He said that since June last year, eight teachers have been de-registered, and some of the reasons cited included criminal offences.

Yeung said this was the first time a teacher has been de-registered for reasons relating to professional malpractice and problematic teaching materials.

He reiterated that the teacher in question talked a lot about Hong Kong independence and the Hong Kong National Party in class, and given that it was to a class of primary school children, it should have been handled with more care because that is the age where children start to establish their views of the world.

Yeung was also asked to respond to reports that students told EDB investigators that the materials were related to a class topic about freedom of speech and that none of them expressed support for Hong Kong independence.

The education chief said that even if students said they didn’t agree with Hong Kong independence, that was not the point because students can still collect information from different sources and draw their own conclusions.

Yeung reiterated that the teacher was being investigated for his failure in designing teaching materials, questioned why the Hong Kong National Party needed to be mentioned, and that because the students were required to express their views in class this was considered to be political.

He was also asked to respond to reports that the teacher involved just designed the curriculum and was not involved with teacher. Yeung replied that even if that was the case, he could not shirk his responsibility.

Also speaking on the same programme after Yeung was education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen who criticised the government for being "sloppy" in their investigation.

Ip said that teachers need to teach independent thinking to students, and that in order for students to be able to oppose issues like Hong Kong independence, they needed to talk about it first.

He also expressed concerns that this would have a chilling effect on teachers, and that some in the profession might self-censor in the future.