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EDB announces cessation of working relations with PTU

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     The Education Bureau (EDB) announced today (July 31) that the EDB will cease all working relations with the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU).
      
     A spokesman for EDB said that PTU has claimed itself as a professional education organisation. In the past decades, EDB has been allowing it to participate in the discussion, co-ordination and conduct of education-related activities. However, the remarks and deeds of PTU in recent years are invariably inconsistent with what is expected of the education profession, rendering it no different from a political body in essence. Over the past years, it has been actively and closely participating in the Civil Human Rights Front and Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.  It has also urged teachers to launch class boycott, triggering the infiltration of politics into schools. In the social turmoil, some students or even teachers were swayed to take part in violence and unlawful activities. Instead of shouldering the responsibility of the education profession by guiding or dissuading them, PTU added fuel to fire, contrary to the fundamental principles of education and at the expense of students’ well-being.

     EDB could no longer regard PTU as a professional education body and now announced the following decisions:
 
∗ EDB will no longer have any formal or informal meetings with PTU or its representatives, nor consult it on education-related issues;

∗ In the meantime, EDB will suspend the handling of cases referred or concerns raised by PTU.  People concerned may directly contact EDB, relevant schools or organisations;

∗ EDB will holistically review the advisory committees and related educational bodies under its purview.  If any members are holding posts in these committees and bodies as representatives of PTU, EDB will consider terminating their appointment, not recognising their membership, refusing their participation in the meetings or denying their access to the EDB office area for the meetings; and

∗ In principle, teacher training courses organised by PTU will no longer be recognised. Hence, schools should not count teachers’ participation in PTU’s training courses as part of the 150 hours of Continuing Professional Development activities in the three-year cycles with effect from today; however, in case schools find that certain training courses could be recognised given their special circumstances, they may consult the relevant EDB Senior School Development Officer.
 
     The spokesman said that the education sector was hard hit by the political and social turmoil in recent years. Some teachers or students had gone astray, while some were even arrested. A professional education organisation should uphold professionalism, help teachers demonstrate their professionalism in guiding students to discern right from wrong, teaching students the importance of law-abidingness, and steering them to grow on the right track.  However, not only does PTU fail to live up to this expectation, it has been engaging in political propaganda under the guise of being a professional education organisation.  For instance, in the “Occupy Central” movement, PTU published teaching resources with contents on civil disobedience for all teachers to teach their students; launched territory-wide class and teaching boycott by teachers, dragging schools into politics; recently the PTU even openly promotes books that glorify violence. While PTU claimed itself as a teachers’ union, teachers should, taking due account of its words and deeds, prudently consider if the PTU could genuinely represent them.
      
     The spokesman emphasised that EDB expects all professional education organisations to responsibly fulfill their mission in education. EDB would continue to join hands with genuine education professional organisations, in reaffirming our focus on education principles and nurturing the younger generation of Hong Kong.