Teachers will be trained to lead a national flag guard and teach respect for the motherland at a proposed centre for national education. The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, which runs a National Education Centre in Tai Po, has lodged a HK$30 million bid with the Education Bureau to run the new centre for three years at a surplus school building in Tsing Yi. Training would target teachers and senior secondary students. The union has run training camps at the Tai Po centre on flag-raising and national identity and has laid on subsidised trips to Beijing for primary and junior secondary students since 2004. Its contract with the bureau has just been renewed for two years. Union chairman Wong Kwan-yu said that among other activities the new centre would offer would be workshops on teaching about national identity, setting up a student national flag guard in schools and delivering the 'modern China' unit of the liberal studies curriculum about to be introduced in schools. 'We want every school in Hong Kong to have a student national flag guard to raise the national flag in the correct way every week,' Mr Wong said. He said delays in the tendering process could derail the official launch of the centre, scheduled for December. 'I think the process has been delayed by the change of education ministers,' he said. 'We are hoping that within this month they can notify us formally so we can start to recruit managers and staff.' The school building housing the centre is one of two in Tsing Yi offered for use last year as new international schools. But more than a year after the deadline for applications, the buildings have not been allocated. 'The bureau is considering a number of proposals on the setting up of a national education resources centre on a vacant school premises in Tsing Yi,' a spokesman for the Education Bureau said. 'We will sponsor the successful non-governmental organisation to run professional development programmes for teachers and national education-related programmes for students based on a three-year agreement.' He said there was 'no specific reason' the building was not being turned over to an international school as originally planned. However, at least one legislator questioned the tone of the training. 'The [federation] has a long history of close relationships with Beijing over many years. I don't think it is a good idea to simply implement the kind of model for national education we have on the mainland,' said the Democratic Party's Yeung Sum, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council's education panel. 'Hong Kong is an open and pluralistic society and if we have this kind of national education that is very rigid, dominating and indoctrinating, I don't think it will be acceptable to Hong Kong people.'