Disgraced education group rallies school support for funding

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 4:24am

A pro-Beijing organisation that lost its government funding, after publishing a set of biased national education guidelines, is lobbying school principals in an effort to be reinstated.

The Federation of Education Workers, whose funding was cut during the "brainwashing" row over the planned national education curriculum last year, has written to the principals asking how its services can be improved.

It said yesterday that despite the shelving of the controversial curriculum it would continue to push for patriotic education.

"We will not give it up. We will enhance our services," federation leader Wong Kwan-yu said.

He said the group hoped its national education centre at Tai Po - financial assistance to which was frozen after it published a set of biased nationalistic teaching materials - could continue to run after its lease expires in June.

Before the cut, the centre received about HK$5 million annually, Wong said, adding that he hoped it could secure a similar amount.

He said that in the past no one in the education sector had opposed national education.

"I don't care what some kids think, it's society's consensus," he said referring to student leaders who mobilised thousands to take part in protests last summer to oppose the subject.

Agnes Chow Ting, a spokeswoman for Scholarism, the group that organised the protests, said it was worrying that Wong's organisation was seeking support from schools to resurrect its centre.

"The biased set of materials was printed by that centre. Even the Education Bureau said it was biased," she said.

Chow said she suspected the letters were aimed at winning support from principals to use as "bargaining chips" in negotiations with the government.

At the peak of unrest over the national education plans, tens of thousands of protesters camped outside government headquarters at Tamar and activists went on hunger strikes.

The government eventually shelved the curriculum.

Wong said the group's survey was aimed at finding out "how many schools are scared of teaching national education and how many schools are still willing".