Pan-democrats to boycott Leung's luncheon over national education

Twelve pan-democrats reject offer in protest over national education

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 September, 2012, 3:16am

Twelve pan-democrats plan to boycott Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's luncheon with newly elected lawmakers in protest against his refusal to scrap national education altogether.

The decision by Civic Party and Democratic Party members follows a city-wide class boycott by more than 8,000 students and teachers on Tuesday and a three-day strike by students of City University's School of Creative Media that ended yesterday.

"Leung has still failed to give a proper response to the public appeal for withdrawing the course," Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said. "I hope he can have an open-door meeting unconditionally with all the concern groups."

Democratic Party acting chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said the courtesy luncheon would not be a proper occasion to discuss serious matters.

A spokesman for the Chief Executive's Office said Leung respected the lawmakers' decision and would work to build a good relationship with the legislature.

The pan-democratic camp plans to introduce a private bill aimed at barring implementation of the subject - condemned by critics as biased towards Beijing - when Legislative Council meetings resume in October.

Meanwhile, the Parents Concern Group on National Education has drawn up screening tips for parents seeking primary schools that will not teach biased national education to their children.

Eva Chan Sik-chee, convenor of the group, said: "As the period of Primary One applications begins in earnest, the group has compiled a list of tips - based on suggestions from seasoned teachers - to help parents protect their kids."

Facing mounting public pressure, the government has scrapped the three-year initiation period for the under-fire curriculum to become compulsory and promised not to make it a separate subject in the next five years. But the group is still worried biased elements may appear in other subjects, such as general studies and life education.

The group's suggestions for parents include: examining teaching materials for indications of any suspiciously biased courses, and being alert for students' exchange trips arranged by the government or organisations with strong Beijing loyalist backgrounds.

Meeting the media yesterday, newly elected education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said the government should scrap the subject instead of giving schools the discretion whether to teach it. Otherwise, he said, teachers would be sandwiched among students, parents and school sponsoring bodies.