Six demands adopted by Legco include introducing smaller classes and halting closure of schools Education groups are stepping up pressure on the government this weekend, calling for a major rethink on the pace of reforms and action to reduce teachers' work pressure. Spurred on by the Legislative Council's backing of its demands on Wednesday, the Professional Teachers' Union (PTU) is holding a mass rally tomorrow afternoon and is calling for all principals, teachers and parents to take part. 'The Education and Manpower Bureau needs to reduce work pressure and maximise its support of teachers,' said union president Cheung Man-kwong. He said teachers had a list of six key demands. 'These six demands have been adopted by Legco, so they are now Legco's demands,' he said. They include: A full review of education reforms and the removal of any unnecessary proposals, A fresh view of all aspects of education policy to remove unessential non-teaching work, The introduction of small-class teaching and an increase in the number of teachers, For substitute teachers to relieve pressures on teachers taking professional development courses, A reduction in teaching hours and more administrative support staff, and, The strengthening of pre and in-service training on health and the establishment of a guidance centre for teachers. 'The most important thing is the EMB needs to introduce small-class teaching and stop closing schools,' Mr Cheung said. The rally is to assemble in Edinburgh Place at 3pm tomorrow before marching to the central government offices. Mr Cheung said legislators Dr Yeung Sum, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and Leung Yiu-chung would also be attending the protest. Teacher representatives were keen to meet with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Mr Cheung said. However, the Chief Executive had so far turned down all requests for a face-to-face encounter. 'He wants us to meet with the education secretary [Arthur Li Kwok-cheung] first,' Mr Cheung said. 'We have no special opinion on that. Of course we want to meet with the education secretary as well, but we hope the chief executive will be able to meet us at the same time.' Teachers were still angry about comments made by Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fan following the suicide of two teachers earlier this month. 'Mrs Law has to use real actions to apologise, to use real actions to resolve the problem of teacher pressure,' Mr Cheung said. He refused to speculate how many people would take part but Chan Wai-kai, chairman of the Direct Subsidy Scheme Council and principal of Wai Kiu College, estimated up to 20,000. 'Education reform is necessary, but work pressure is a big problem,' Mr Chan said. 'Teachers are not afraid of work pressure when that is coming from teaching. The problem is this pressure is coming from non-teaching work.' Shin Kei-lit, chairman of Sha Tin Primary School Heads' Association, said he also felt there would be a strong turnout. 'I believe that the majority of principals will take part in the march,' Mr Shin said. 'It is a good way to show our teachers we support and understand them.' He said he was concerned that the EMB's 'constant criticism' of teachers would deter young people from entering the profession. 'Over the last three years, the status of teachers has fallen a lot,' he said. 'Teaching used to be seen as a very stable job, but that just isn't the case anymore.' Yvonne Fung Yuk-hang, acting dean of the School of Education and Languages at the Open University of Hong Kong, said she was worried that 'capable', 'charismatic' and 'committed' students would pursue careers other than teaching. 'This will be a great loss,' she said. Chung Yue-ping, professor in Chinese University of Hong Kong's department of educational administration and policy, said the teaching profession should be made more attractive. 'Teachers should be given a larger role in school management to foster in them a sense of ownership and satisfaction,' he said. Meanwhile, the Native English-speaking Teachers Association has called on its members to join the demonstration and is expecting at least 200 NET teachers to take part in a show of solidarity for their local colleagues.