The government is going to "enhance the quality" of teachers in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Wednesday, adding that this will cover their ethics and character, as well as who is allowed to enter the profession.
In her Policy Address, Lam said last year's social unrest has led many people to question the effectiveness of Hong Kong's education system, with almost 2,000 primary and secondary school children among the more than 10,000 people arrested in connection with the protests.
She said the incidents reveal that "law-abiding awareness of some young people is weak" and that "positive values such as mutual understanding and mutual respect are lacking".
"We cannot bear to see that with the infiltration of politics into school campuses, students are drawn into political turbulence or even misled to engage in illegal and violent acts," Lam said.
The CE went on to say that teachers have a far-reaching influence on the development of students and she hopes they will nurture young people into becoming "the pillars of our country in safeguarding One Country, Two Systems".
"As the authority responsible for the registration of teachers, the government will enhance the quality of teachers through measures in respect of entry to the profession, training and management," the CE said.
"We will discuss with teacher education institutions on ensuring the ethics, character and conduct of teachers."
Lam added that the authorities will take "stringent actions" against teachers who are "incompetent or found misconducted", for the well-being of students.
Her comments come after two teachers were recently struck off for life, one for preparing a lesson plan that allegedly promoted Hong Kong independence, and the other because some of the historical facts he taught students were not accurate.
In response to Lam's remarks, outgoing education sector legislator Ip Kin-yuen said the criticism against teachers is unfounded and there is simply no evidence to show that they incited the city's unrest.
Ip called on the government to stop its "political suppression" of teachers and focus on improving education-related matters, such as teachers’ pay and the refurbishment of dilapidated school campuses.
Last updated: 2020-11-25 HKT 17:05