Members of the pro-democracy student activist group Scholarism began handing out fliers outside secondary schools yesterday to promote their plan for a one-day boycott of classes.
But many pupils - although supportive of both the boycott and Occupy Central as a way of fighting for full democracy - doubted the effectiveness of the action and indicated that they probably would not take part.
Scholarism members distributed fliers near schools in Mid-Levels, North Point and Kwai Chung from 7.30am to 8am before the school day began.
Group founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung said he wanted to promote understanding of public nomination and civil disobedience among secondary pupils and encourage them to join the boycott of classes in the middle or at the end of this month.
But Wong's messages got a lukewarm reception from pupils. Many at King's College, where Wong was distributing fliers outside, said they would not join the boycott.
Edison Lee, 16, said he felt it would not change the central government's stance on control of candidate nomination for the 2017 chief executive election. He believed a better course would be to accept the reform framework laid down first and improve it gradually with popular pressure.
Under the framework, candidates would need approval from the majority of a nominating committee largely chosen by 250,000 individual and corporate voters from various sectors - giving pro-establishment business interests an overwhelming influence over the committee's decisions. "If you pass [the framework], you can keep negotiating with the central government," Lee said. "But if you don't pass it, you'll have nothing."
Warren Tang Kin-yip, 15, said he supported the boycott if it lasted no more than two days, as he believed pupils needed to improve their understanding of universal suffrage. "I'm not sure if the boycott will be effective, but at least it'll help pupils learn the truth [about reform]," Tang said, adding that he had yet to decide if he would join the boycott.
Wong said the group would continue their campaign in Mong Kok and Sha Tin today and that he hoped at least a few hundred pupils would join the boycott.
Eva Chan Sik-chee, convenor of the Parents Concern Group on National Education, said the group supported the boycott among secondary pupils and university students.
But Chan, one of the leaders of a successful campaign to have compulsory national education scrapped, said the children of the parents in her group would not join the boycott.
She said most of them were not old enough to understand the issue and those more senior needed to prepare for the Diploma of Secondary Education exams.