Find out why people are leaving, headteachers urge CE

Secondary schools principals on Monday urged the chief executive to “listen to the people” and find out why so many Hongkongers are emigrating, as they voiced concerns that a brain drain of teachers will affect the quality of education here.

In an open letter, the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools told Carrie Lam that a number of schools are losing talent, especially experienced teachers and those in middle management, and as a result some subjects were forced to be cut.

Hong Kong is seeing a new wave of emigration since Beijing imposed the national security law on the SAR. Long queues have recently been spotted at airport counters for flights bound for the UK, after London provided a way out for those with BN(O) status.

In the letter outlining their recommendations for the next CE policy address, the headteachers called on Lam to “seriously listen to Hong Kong people to find out why they are leaving, and formulate appropriate policies to salvage their confidence.”

Lam had said she wasn’t too bothered about people leaving, saying it’s their personal choice, and the government will continue to recruit talent from the mainland and overseas.

The association also expressed concerns that a large number of students are moving overseas, saying the impact on the city in the long run will be “immeasurable.”

“The government must administer the right medicine so that students will be willing to stay in Hong Kong’s education system to learn and grow,” it said.

Without giving specific examples, the association said the Education Bureau must stand up for educators when the industry is subject to “groundless smearing and attacks”, saying the smears hurt morale and seriously affect the development of teachers and society as a whole.

The education sector was severely criticised by the pro-establishment camp over students’ participation in the 2019 social unrest, with Beijing loyalists claiming biased teaching materials and the now-axed liberal studies helped to radicalise young people.