Database on pupils' mainland visits an invasion of privacy, union says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 3:45am

A teachers' union has accused the Education Bureau of invading pupils' privacy with its new data-collection policy.

The Professional Teachers' Union said yesterday that a computer system that was started up this year in public schools was collecting data on mainland exchange programmes.

Information submitted includes how many trips were taken, the places that the pupils visited and what they learned from the experience.

But the union said some schools had also submitted details about the performance of pupils during the trips, and answered questions on whether schools should print such exchange experiences on academic records.

"The authority has not made it clear how the information will be used, or explained why collecting details of such exchange programmes can be justified," PTU vice-president Wong Hak-lim said yesterday.

An Education Bureau spokeswoman said there was no intention to create profiles of pupils' activities on the mainland, and the system would not be used for measuring their patriotism.

"The system will be used to help schools obtain information about student activities, so they can give priority to students who have not been given any financial assistance for mainland exchange programmes in the past," she said.

But Wong said the centralised collection of such data was unnecessary because schools could manage their own resources.

"This only creates an impression that such information could be used for other purposes," he said.