More than 5,000 students and teachers have reportedly left secondary school in Hong Kong in the past year. Six out of 10 students who left school responded that they would leave Hong Kong for good. Since the Hong Kong Security Act, which allowed the state to sentence protestors in opposition to mainland China to life imprisonment at maximum, entered into force, Hong Kong’s social environment has radically changed, and this may have contributed to the large exodus of students and teachers.
HK01, a Hong Kong-based online news portal, cited on Thursday the data gathered by the group of Hong Kong middle and high school principals, which surveyed of 140 middle and high schools in Hong Kong and revealed that a total of 4,460 students and 987 teachers have left school during the school year 2020-2021. This is translated into an average of 32 students and seven teachers per school. The number of students and teachers who left school has increased considerably from the previous year, when 2,700 students and 498 teachers left school.
Of those students who left school, 2,643 students (59.2% of the respondents) said that they would leave Hong Kong and go to other countries. The Association of Principals expressed concern that the number of teachers who left school and chose to emigrate to other countries has increased by seven-fold, clearly suggesting the gravity of the exodus of both students and teachers for the past year.
Critics point out the oppressive social environment and pro-China education policies and curriculum upon the implementation of the Security Act, which gave rise to the disappointment of students and teachers, and cite it as the cause of the mass departure. As the traffic between China and Hong Kong is restricted to stop the spread of COVID-19, students from mainland China are prohibited from commuting to Hong Kong schools, and this is presumed to have partly contributed to the departure. Back in July, the Association of Principals first called for the education department to take measures by stating that many students and teachers are exiting from Hong Kong to go toward other countries.
Ki-Yong Kim email@example.com