47 Hong Kong teachers deregistered in 2023 over professional misconduct, such as theft-related crimes and child abuse, more than double figure for 2022

47 Hong Kong teachers deregistered in 2023 over professional misconduct, such as theft-related crimes and child abuse, more than double figure for 2022

Forty-seven Hong Kong teachers were deregistered last year over professional misconduct, such as involvement in sex or theft-related crimes and child abuse, more than double the figure for the previous year, according to education authorities.

In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council’s panel on education, the Education Bureau also said that it would offer teachers in the city more study opportunities in mainland China to enhance their ability to foster students’ sense of national identity.

According to the bureau’s statistics, authorities took action against 171 teachers last year over professional misconduct, up from 104 in 2022 and 151 in 2021.

Among them, 47 were deregistered last year, compared with 21 in 2022 and seven in 2021.

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The bureau on Friday also said it had issued 69 written warnings last year, a jump from 43 a year earlier. Other actions included issuing reprimand letters, written advices and verbal reminders or making records for future reference.

“It is important to note that there was significant increase in the number of cases against which the Education Bureau took action in 2023,” it said.

The bureau added that the surge in cases could be attributed to the implementation of measures in the 2021-22 school year, including criminal record checks on registered teachers every three years, which had led to more professional misconduct incidents coming to light.

It said most of the teachers had already left the profession and that authorities would follow up on the cases to prevent them from teaching in schools again if the behaviour involved serious unlawful acts or professional misconduct.

The 47 cases of serious professional misconduct mainly involved sex or theft-related crimes and child abuse, as well as going beyond teacher-student relations, according to the bureau.

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The bureau said according to the 2022 policy address, new teachers at publicly funded schools and those that had been promoted at public sector schools would be required to take part in study tours on the mainland, while all instructors would be offered more study opportunities across the border to learn about the development of the country to strengthen their ability to foster students’ sense of national identity.

Three to four-day mainland study tours were included in the core training programme for new teachers, it added.

Nineteen study tours took place in the Greater Bay Area, Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Changsha from April 2023 to January this year, with 2,181 teachers, including 56 non-Chinese speakers.

The bureau said it planned to organise 15 mainland study tours for promoted teachers in the 2023-24 school year, with about 100 to 120 participants in each tour, providing about 1,700 spots.

The first seven study tours were held in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Zhuhai from October 2023 to January this year, with 779 promoted teachers.

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