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Hong Kong NETs must pledge allegiance

Native English Teachers (NETs) employed at government schools in Hong Kong must now pledge an allegiance to the city by 21 June or lose their jobs. This comes on the back of the Mainland Chinese government’s requirement that increasing numbers of employees, mainly in the public-sector, swear loyalty to the city and to Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which is akin to a constitution.

Thus far, this swearing of an oath of allegiance is restricted to those NETs whose employment at the Hong Kong Education Bureau-run schools began on or after 1 July 2020, but some are wondering if the requirement will spread to other public sector schools as well.

Hong Kong has been hiring NETs since 1997 through a programme aimed at improving school students’ English and it is now common practice to have NETs in both primary and secondary schools there. Salaries are typically generous, ranging from HK$32,000 (US$14,100/£3,300) up to HK$74,000 per month. NETs also benefit from other rewards in a bid to keep them in Hong Kong, but the latest figures suggest that as many as 13% left during the 2020-2021 school year, possibly due to Hong Kong’s strict zero-Covid policy, though teachers have also mentioned concerns over the city’s changing political climate.

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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