Students launch Occupy camp against controversial national education lessons

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 3:36am

Student activists plan to camp outside the government's headquarters in Admiralty to pressure the authorities into scrapping national education lessons.

Members of Scholarism, a group of primary and secondary school students, say their "Occupy Tamar" campaign will be an ultimatum to the government. Tamar is the name of the former naval base on which the headquarters has been built.

National education will be taught in primary schools from Monday, but it will not be compulsory until 2015 in primary schools and 2016 in secondary education.

"When it comes to social movements, students are always on the frontline and they are brave in advocating change and opposing the authorities through organised activities," said Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Scholarism's lead activist.

Wong said they had not obtained permission for the protest, but could move to nearby premises if banned from setting up their camp.

From tomorrow night, about 30 activists will arrive at the government office area and remain until Sunday, before they start school on Monday.

"Occupy Tamar" coincides with the National Education Parents' Concern Group rally on Saturday, which follows a similar protest last month.

Critics say the controversial policy goes against academic freedom and that the Education Bureau's push for the subject suggests a political mission.

Authorities deny the introduction of the subject is political, with top officials saying that 15 years after the handover students should learn more about China.