Whilst many of Hong Kong’s teachers agreed with the recent education bureau’s reforms, they and their unions felt the changes were being imposed too quickly, without the appropriate resources or consulation. Teachers were calling for smaller class sizes and a lighter workload rather than more work and exams.
Attending a rally on 23/1/06 with International Action, we found that our best reaction came from the teachers themselves. Every school employs Western English teachers though – aside from us – none appeared to turn out, thus, we were applauded for showing support and solidarity.
15,000 teachers and supporters marched. Education secretary Fanny Law said that two suicides indicated only two people were upset about reforms. We wanted to highlight that behind two suicides you may have dozens of people ‘on the edge’, hundreds depressed and thousands stressed out. Our signs, in Cantonese, read ‘No more suicides – how many more teachers on the edge?’