Criticized for its notice, demands on compulsory replies retracted by the Education Bureau on live-streaming of LI Fei’s speech

PTU News Reporter

In October, the Education Bureau issued a notice to all secondary schools, inviting sponsoring bodies of schools to hold live streaming sessions of the Basic Law seminar, letters issued by the Education Bureau included also reply slips, demanding schools to reply by a specific date. IP Kin Yuen, representative of the HKPTU in Legislative Council had received complaints from school principals on the pressure felt by them and the sponsoring bodies of schools. When questioned by the media, the Secretary for Education, Kevin YEUNG, changed the line and claimed the reply of the notice is optional.

Pressure on schools as willingness is forged

The HKSAR government will be holding a Basic Law Seminar in the morning of 16th November, with its keynote speech delivered by LI Fei, a member of HKSAR Basic Law Committee of Standing Committee of National People’s Congress. The Education Bureau had issued a notice to sponsoring bodies of schools earlier, inviting the sponsoring bodies to arrange a viewing session of the live streaming for their schools. The Seminar will begin at 10 A.M in the morning, hence inevitably disrupting normal class arrangements. The Education Bureau claimed the session to be entirely optional, schools can decide on their own whether to hold such sessions.

With the notice enclosed with reply slips, demanding sponsoring bodies of schools to reply by a specific date on the numbers of schools joining the live sessions, IP mentioned the pressures felt by both schools and sponsoring bodies. He had also received complaints made by school principals, voicing the worry of the potential consequences of opting out of the live streaming. IP opinionated that for the Education Bureau to demand obligatory replies from sponsoring bodies of school constitutes a forged sense of willingness.

Ip continued to point out that demanding schools to attend live streaming session of individual’s keynote speeches is an unprecedented act, “not even the delivery of the Chief Executive’s policy address was met with such arrangements”, such arrangements gave the impression of instilling particular understanding of the Basic Law among students. In addition to the disruption of class states earlier, IP criticized the demands of the Education Bureau to be foolish, stating that compulsory viewing will only further drive students away from the education on Basic Law. IP demanded that the Education Bureau to respect the professional decisions made by schools, and to retract the demands of obligatory response on whether the schools are joining the live-streaming session.

LAM: It can’t be seen if you close your eyes

When asked if the mentioned demands are forcing students to participate, Carrie LAM replied that that would be impossible in being forced, giving an appalling answer, claiming that “it can’t be seen if you close your eyes”. Kevin YEUNG, the Secretary for Education, later clarified that there were never intentions to put pressure on schools, explaining the demand for replies from schools was to make estimations on the number of schools participating for the purpose of making relevant preparations. YEUNG claimed that compulsory replies are not required from sponsoring bodies of schools, and government schools are free to decide on their own whether to organize live-streaming viewing.