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English teachers’ exodus from Hong Kong

Hong Kong is seeing a massive increase in teachers leaving their jobs – as many as 50% in the 2021/2022 academic year. The trend is especially noticeable among native English teachers (NETs) in local secondary schools and has reached a five-year high of 13%. By contrast, in the four years before this, the drop-out rate hovered between 8 and 10%.

The Education Bureau (EDB) maintains that teachers leave their posts for a variety of reasons, such as retirement, changing careers, taking jobs in private schools, emigrating or pursuing further study.

Other possible reasons for the departure of so many teachers have been downplayed. For instance, education secretary Kevin Yeung was quoted by the Hong Kong Free Press as saying there were “no substantive grounds” for putting the increase in teachers leaving down to the strict Covid-19 quarantine measures in the administrative region. Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post reports that the new secretary for education, Christine Choi Yuk-lin, admits that it’s proving hard to fill teaching posts for certain subjects, including English language, but says this has nothing to do with the study tours to mainland China which now form part of the curriculum for Hong Kong’s secondary school pupils. These school trips, she says, are intended to promote citizenship and social development, denying the claim they are ‘attempts to brainwash’ students.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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