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Thursday, September 19, 2019, 23:12
Social unrest adversely affecting students, teachers: Survey
By Kathy Zhang
Thursday, September 19, 2019, 23:12 By Kathy Zhang

Chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers Wong Kam-leung (right) and Vice-chairman of the HKFEW Wong Wai-shing attend the press conference related to the survey on Thursday. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG — The impact of the growing civil unrest of the past several months has spread to school campuses, where some teachers and students said they are suffering from mental stress, according to a survey published on Thursday.

The survey, conducted in early September by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, was based on interviews of headmasters from 66 primary schools and 102 secondary schools.

The survey said that 42 percent of the principals said some of their students were found to be suffering from emotional distress, while 25 percent said some teachers reported having similar problems

Among the respondents, 47 percent said that the social unrest has created a tense atmosphere on campuses.

The survey said that 42 percent of the principals said some of their students were found to be suffering from emotional distress, while 25 percent said some teachers reported having similar problems.

In one extreme case, a teacher who was apparently under tremendous mental stress began behaving strangely, including talking to himself, and had to be put on sick leave, Federation Chairman Wong Kam-leung said.

Meanwhile, some parents have complained that their children have been having recurrent nightmares recently.

The protracted political turmoil has driven a rift not only in society, but also in some schools, where children of police officers have been targets of campus bullying. Protesters tried to bring politics into schools by calling for class boycotts. Such attempts have met with little success.

About 90 percent of the schools surveyed said no student in their schools participated in class boycott in the past week. In the other schools, only a small minority of students boycotted classes.

Federation Vice-Chairman Wong Wai-shing said schools are under greater pressure in the face of myriad potential problems arising from the political turmoil.

Teachers and support staff must do extra work to prevent bullying and class boycotts, he said, adding that many schools have canceled their open-day activities to avoid disruptions by protesters trying to bring politics into campus.

Wong Kam-leung urged the Education Bureau to provide detailed guidelines on how to handle situations such as class boycotts and undue political activism. In addition, the bureau should set up a cross-sector team to provide professional, legal and psychological counseling services to students, parents, teachers and staff members, the federation suggested.

The federation said it hoped the bureau can set up a complaint hotline for students who are bullied at school and teachers seeking assistance to deal with school bullying.


kathyzhang@chinadailyhk.com

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