Govt smearing teacher with its false claims: union - RTHK
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Govt smearing teacher with its false claims: union

2020-10-11 HKT 17:41
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  • Govt smearing teacher with its false claims: union
The Professional Teachers' Union said on Sunday that the government has provided misleading information to try to justify its decision to de-register a primary school teacher, omitting important facts about the case.

The Education Bureau announced last week that the teacher had drawn up a lesson plan that involved spending 85 minutes over two classes "promoting" the banned Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) and the idea of Hong Kong independence, as part of a discussion on freedom of speech.

But the union said that from what it had gathered from other teachers at the school in Kowloon Tong, the 85-minute claim was not true and the plan also included the showing of an RTHK programme which featured people such as Security Secretary John Lee denouncing the idea of independence.

The union also dismissed the bureau's claim that the teacher intended to "impose independence ideology on students", saying teachers who had followed the lesson plan had allowed open discussions in class, with students rejecting some of the ideas put forward by the HKNP.

The PTU's vice president, Ip Kin-yuen, said it was clear that officials were trying to smear the teacher, adding that nobody had seen anything to back up the government's claim that the teacher had caused "serious harm" to students.

"What facts did the Education Bureau use in making this ruling, in deciding on this 'crime'? If there's no evidence, they need to correct this mistake. This is a very, very serious mistake. This should never happen," Ip said at a press conference.

Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said on Sunday that if schools allow the notion of Hong Kong independence to be discussed in class, they must ensure that students arrive at the conclusion that the idea is not feasible.

But Ip said this is not how teaching works and rather than "imposing conclusions" on the students, they must be allowed to analyse information and make their own minds up.

"The secretary is looking at this from a political point of view. But we're looking at an education process", said Ip, who's also the lawmaker for the education sector.

He said his union plans to help the teacher submit an appeal on Monday. If the Appeal Board handles the case in a fair and impartial manner the teacher will have a good chance of success, he added.

In response to the comments, the Education Bureau said the union should not give people the impression that it is seeking to harbour teachers who commit misconduct, and it should stop its "fearmongering".