Schools 'push back against anonymous complaints' - RTHK
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Schools 'push back against anonymous complaints'

2020-11-10 HKT 16:55
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  • Schools 'push back against anonymous complaints'
Fung Wai-wah speaks to Jimmy Choi
Many school principals say they are pushing back against attempts by pro-establishment figures to name and shame teachers accused of misconduct and other wrongdoing amid a rise in complaints against the sector since the start of anti-government protests more than a year ago.

According to a survey of 125 principals of primary, secondary and special-needs schools by the Professional Teachers' Union (PTU), nearly half of them said they had received anonymous complaints against teachers in their schools, including the way they teach and comments they made privately or on social media.

"I think it is a problem," said Fung Wai-wah, president of the PTU. "A school is actually a place that needs to have a quiet and, well, normal environment so that they deliver their teaching and the student can learn effectively. But right now there are so many anonymous complaints, most of them are actually groundless. This will cause some kind of interruption to normal teaching."

Former Chief Executive CY Leung has led the drive to make public teachers accused of wrongdoing. Last month, he published on his Facebook page the personal information of 18 teachers being prosecuted for protest-related offences, insisting students should be protected from being radicalised.

The survey said 82 percent of the respondents were against revealing information about the teachers who are facing complaints, including their names and schools.

Fung also accused the Education Bureau of encouraging "a culture of complaints" now prevalent in the sector by actively looking into complaints coming from what he described as flimsy sources. He said the bureau should stop entertaining anonymous complaints to prevent abuse.

Fung also called for school-based management so that schools can handle their own business.

The survey by the union group aligned with the pro-democracy camp also found almost three-quarters of those responded said they did not find the reasons given by the Education Bureau behind the disqualification of a primary school teacher late month to be convincing.

The bureau de-registered the licence of a teacher from the Alliance Primary School in Kowloon Tong on the grounds that he promoted Hong Kong independence through class materials he had designed.

According to the PTU survey, 80 percent of the respondents did not agree with claims by education officials that the teacher had deliberately spread independence ideas in class, while over 70 percent thought it was unreasonable for the bureau to issue warnings against other teachers in the school.

Fung said the incident had instilled “white terror” into the sector. He said some teachers may become more cautious and shy away from sensitive teaching material in future.