People attend a flag raising ceremony at a middle school in Yuen Long of New Territories, Hong Kong, South China, August 11, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
Collaboration between the Education Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and pro-establishment teacher-training agency is "progress for Hong Kong education," an expert said.
The Hong Kong Education Bureau (HKEDB) announced it is working with the Endeavour Education Centre to provide core training on values and professional ethics for new and in-service teachers during the fall semester.
Endeavour Education Centre was established in 2016 by a number of pro-establishment figures, including former NPC Standing Committee member Rita Fan, former Deputy Director of the Basic Law Committee Elsie Leung and former Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing. The Centre aims to promote Chinese history and nationalism.
Two teacher training courses will be jointly offered by the HKEDB and Endeavour Education Centre in mid-November. The courses are titled "Respect for the Law and Consolidation of the Rule of Law" and "Speak Up: Teaching the Law by Example," which is aimed at deepening teachers' understanding and to "help them teach students the importance of respecting the law and consolidating the rule of law," according to the HKEDB.
Lawrence Tang Fei, the principal of Hong Kong's Heung To Secondary School, recognizes the importance of the teacher training, as few primary and middle school teachers majored in law. "They will have to receive relevant training before they can teach students about laws," said Tang.
Tang dismissed critics who accuse the HKEDB of failing to exhibit diverse opinions in Hong Kong, adding that it is the pro-establishment camp that has been long underrepresented in Hong Kong's education.
"The HKEDB's taking in ideas from the pro-establishment camp is progress for Hong Kong education that had gone to extremes for a long time," Tang told the Global Times on Monday, "It is an unavoidable trend that the society hears the voices that were suppressed before."
In an email reply to the Global Times, the HKEDB stressed that teachers are responsible for passing on knowledge and nurturing students' values and national identity, which is why they need to have a proper understanding of Hong Kong's constitutional status, national development and other topics.
"The HKEDB has been organizing training courses in collaboration with external organizations for a long time," the HKEDB noted. "The recent cooperation has taken into account the needs of teachers and the development of relevant policies," the email said.
Endeavour Education Centre told the Global Times this will be its first collaboration with the HKEDB, and the training will be focused on the Basic Law, the Constitution, and the national security law for Hong Kong.
"It's necessary that our teachers receive training on these laws," the spokesperson of the Centre told the Global Times via a phone call on Monday, "The HKEDB and us reached a consensus on that."