About 180 academics have signed an open letter criticising the government for not informing them about its education policies. The letter will appear on Thursday in a half-page advertisement in the Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao to raise public awareness of their concerns, according to one of the campaign organisers, Ng Tai-kai, a physicist at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The scholars who signed up were responding to an online campaign initiated by seven academics from various institutions a week ago. The signatories include Priscilla Lau Pui-king, an associate professor of business studies at Polytechnic University and a delegate to the National People's Congress; Harvard-based Chinese literature professor Leo Lee Ou-fan; and HKUST economics professor Francis Lui Ting-ming. 'We want to let officials know that academics have views on various issues and are not passive people,' Dr Ng said. 'We have no idea what the government is up to. Its suggestion of bringing in four-year university [education] earlier by letting more outstanding Form Six students enter university will be detrimental to secondary schools. 'Form Six education will mean little to those who can go into university on the strength of their Hong Kong Certificate of Education results.' The letter, drafted by Dr Ng and the others, said university teachers had been kept in the dark over major policy changes. These included a decision to slash university funding and a suggestion by the secretary for education and manpower, Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, to speed up the introduction of four-year university education. They said the lack of consultation on these policy plans was as bad as that surrounding the controversial National Security Bill. The letter urged officials to learn from the massive protest on July 1 and stage broad consultation on major policies: 'It is of prime importance to respect and take seriously the opinions of frontline education workers and professionals.'