Pupils and parents to protest against national education
Ada Lee and Dennis Chong
Pupils and parents will surround the government's headquarters on Saturday in their latest move against the introduction of the national and moral education curriculum ahead of the start of the new school term next week.
The National Education Parents' Concern Group said it expected tens of thousands of participants to demonstrate at the government's headquarters in Admiralty. The protesters' plan of attack against the subject in the new school term would also be announced on that day.
Group spokeswoman Linda Wong Shui-hung said the government had been deaf to their demands, even though scores of protesters took to the street in an anti-national education march last month.
"So we hope to go to their working place and tell them what we want," she said.
The gathering would start at 2pm with a carnival, followed by a band performance at 4.30pm. The group would then surround the headquarters until 8.30pm.
The group said the start of the school term would not mark an end to their campaign but a beginning of their action. Wong called the gathering a "commencement ceremony of civic education".
Meanwhile, about 50 secondary school pupils marched from a public school in Shau Kei Wan to the government headquarters yesterday.
The pupils from an anti-national education alliance walked the 12 kilometres from Aldrich Bay Government Primary School to Admiralty, wearing red blindfolds and carrying red balloons. They chanted slogans saying they did not want brainwashing education, and urged schools and teachers not to teach the subject. The group passed through a number of public schools on the route of their march.
They released the balloons when they arrived at the government's headquarters.
State primary schools are expected to start introducing the national and moral education curriculum next month, although it will not become compulsory until 2015. Secondary schools must teach it in 2016.
One of the rally organisers, activist Yip Po-lam, said the group would not rule out using any means to force the government to withdraw the subject. "We will be unco-operative," she said.
But Yip said there were no details yet as to whether students and teachers would strike.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Buddhist Association debunked some reports in the press that its seven primary schools would start teaching the national education subject in the upcoming school term.
The association's principal education officer, William Lee Siu-hok, said that the schools did not have appropriate teaching materials to start the subject.
A task force had been set up to explore how the subject would be incorporated into the school curriculum.