Hong Kong protests: Principals under pressure following Education Secretary's comments about misconduct

Staff writer

The government official said that school heads could be disqualified if deemed unsuitable while handling 'protest-related complaints' against teachers

Staff writer |

Latest Articles

Amnesty International will close HK offices, citing national security law

Combining love for special effects make-up and Hong Kong movies

YP’s Best of the Month Awards: Congratulations to our September winners

Show off photo prompt: May I have this dance?

Hot topics: What is Hong Kong going to do with its wild, wild boars?

Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, Secretary for Education, holds a press conference at the Central Government Offices in Tamar.

Principals felt pressured by the Hong Kong education chief’s remarks that they could lose their jobs over their handling of protest-related complaints, the school heads’ association said on Monday. 

According to the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, principals were under pressure after Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said on Saturday that school heads could be disqualified if they were deemed unsuitable for their job when handling protest-related misconduct complaints against teachers.  

The association also accused Yeung of failing to spell out what “unsuitable” meant, and urged his bureau to have trust in principals’ professionalism.

Police grant letter of no objection for New Year's Day march

Yeung made the comment in an interview with online news outlet Shanghai Observer, run by the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Jiefang Daily, on the ongoing anti-government protests.

When asked how his bureau would act if schools or their heads did not cooperate when probing protest-related complaints against teachers, Yeung said the permanent secretary for education had the power to disqualify principals who were not up to their job.

Under the Education Ordinance, the permanent secretary may withdraw a principal’s appointment approval for failure to perform duties satisfactorily, or for being unacceptable to most of a school’s managers. “For example, when a school tells us [during] feedback that the teacher involved is ‘not problematic’, then we might know the school or the principal’s attitude might be ‘problematic’, so we can handle the issue from a management perspective,” he said.

HK teen accused of taking officer's gun denied bail

Yeung said the Education Bureau could appoint members to a school’s management committee but this power would be used cautiously.

“In serious cases, if [a principal] is deemed unsuitable, the bureau can even revoke his or her teaching qualifications,” he said.

The bureau said about 80 teachers and teaching assistants had been arrested over the protests, while at least four were suspended or had resigned.