Education groups have accused a commission that investigates teachers' stress of being unfair, after its interim report blamed school management and administrative work as the source of pressure. They said the Education and Manpower Bureau was trying to avoid responsibility for the extra work created by its reforms. The comments came as the independent commission chaired by Edmond Ko In-ming, professor of chemical engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, submitted the report to the bureau yesterday. Speaking after meeting education minister Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, Professor Ko said: 'Teachers' stress is related to school management which is conducted by principals, vice-principals, and senior teachers who assign work to teachers. They should maintain good communication in their schools.' The findings showed the number of working hours and amount of administrative work had both increased in the past few years. Professor Ko said: 'Teachers feel stressed when they have to do non-teaching paperwork. But their stress is not directly related to their workload. As long as teachers can do work which can help students, they can manage the work and time.' The president of the Professional Teachers' Union, Cheung Man-kwong, said the report had failed to uncover the truth. 'Teachers are stressed because the government is closing schools instead of introducing small-class teaching. Schools compete for students in order to survive, and that is why teachers have to do work unrelated to teaching,' he said. 'The commission just tries to cover mistakes in education policy made by the government by putting blame on administrative work and school management.' Alex Cheung Chi-hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Aided Primary School Heads Association, also disagreed with the findings. 'Principals do not create administrative work and make teachers finish it. We have to do better to compete for students, as the population declines,' he said. Education Convergence vice-president Ho Hon-kuen, also a vice-principal of Elegantia College, said the report was 'outrageous'. 'Teachers' stress is of course directly related to their workload. Who is creating all this administrative work for teachers? Who is introducing school-based management?' he said. 'School management does not create work for teachers. The work is related to education reforms. It seems that the bureau does not want to take responsibility for creating problems.'