Kevin Yeung Yun-hung
|Secretary for Education|
|Assumed office |
1 July 2017
|Chief Executive||Carrie Lam|
|Preceded by||Eddie Ng|
|Under Secretary for Education|
1 July 2012 – 30 June 2017
|Chief Executive||Leung Chun-ying|
|Preceded by||Kenneth Chan|
|Succeeded by||Christine Choi Yuk-lin|
|Born||January 26, 1963|
|Alma mater||Wah Yan College, Kowloon|
University of Hong Kong
He graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Social Sciences and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Australia. He worked as an accountant in the private sector for seven years before joining the Hong Kong government in 1992 as an administrative officer.
He served in various bureaux and departments, including more than four years as assistant to Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing. In 2010 he transferred to the Food and Health Bureau, and later served in the Home Affairs Bureau, the Kowloon City District Office, and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Sydney. He was promoted to Administrative Officer Staff Grade C in 2004. In November 2012, he was appointed Under Secretary for Education.
In his two senior Education Bureau roles, Yeung has frequently been criticised for his positions on contentious education matters, including: his support for Mandarin language teaching over Cantonese, his mother tongue; calling for teachers to dissuade students from voicing support for the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests and that any school principal who supports a teacher under investigation may be disqualified; and speedy criticism of a question in the 2020 Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination that asked if Japan 'did more good than harm to China' between 1900 and 1945, calling it "problematic" and "biased".
In June 2020, he wrote to school principals urging them to discipline students who took part in a union-organised referendum on whether to boycott classes as a protest against China's imposition of national security legislation through amending an annex to the Basic Law, calling it a 'meaningless ballot'. His letter also told principals to ensure that students did not shout slogans, form human chains, put up posters or even sing songs containing political messages.
In July 2020, he wrote "No one, including students, should play, sing and broadcast songs which contain political messages or hold any activities to express their political stance" despite the fact that he sent his own son and daughter to attend university in Australia, where freedom of political communication is an implied right in the constitution.
In late August 2020, Kevin Yeung said that "separation of powers" should be removed from Liberal Studies textbooks. This statement had a snowball effect, as a day later, Carrie Lam expressed "full support" for that opinion. A week later, both the Liaison Office and Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office released statements, saying that separation of powers does not exist in Hong Kong. In addition, Teresa Cheng reiterated the position and said that separation of powers "has no place" in Hong Kong.
In October 2020, Yeung announced that details of certain investigations into teachers would be published online to inform the public and educators of what the government deems unacceptable. Additionally, Yeung said that if Hong Kong independence is discussed in schools, then teachers must make the students conclude that the idea is not feasible.
In November 2020, Yeung said that his department would seek legal authority for more extensive punishments against teachers, including the suspension of their teaching licenses, the withholding or deduction of their salaries, and other penalties. In regards to classroom material that may be "problematic," such as discussions on Hong Kong independence, Yeung said that teachers "should report the matter to their supervisors so amendments could be made," and that if the teachers "stay silent, they should be held responsible."
Also in November 2020, Yeung announced changes to the liberal studies curriculum in Hong Kong, including the vetting of all textbooks to remove material which pro-Beijing figures have said were biased against the government. Some educators noted that some of Yeung's changes, such as moving the grading system to pass/fail, ran contrary to recommendations made by a task force that had reviewed the subject for three years.
In December 2020, Yeung said that ongoing current affairs should not be taught in liberal studies classrooms.
In February 2021, Yeung announced changes to the education system, and said that schools and teachers that fail to report breaches of the National Security Law to the police could be held responsible. Notices to teachers explained that teachers should educate students as young as 6 years old about the national security law. Yeung also reiterated that schools are not a place to express political views and said that the new rules would not impact rights or freedom of speech for students. Also, Yeung said that even if pupils were outside of campus and form human chains, campus administrators still had the responsibility to prevent them from doing so. In response, Ip Kin-yuen, the vice-president of the Professional Teachers' Union, said that he was astounded to see the "vast scope" of the new rules as well as the lack of consultation with teachers before the rules were published.
In March 2021, Yeung revealed that all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong would be given 48 copies of "My Home is in China," a book designed to boost mainland Chinese identity in students. In addition, Yeung revealed that new teachers in Hong Kong would have to undergo a mandatory study tour in mainland China as part of their training, so they could "understand the educational development in mainland and the country's achievements through their personal experience."
In October 2021, Yeung said that teachers at private schools may be forced to take a test on the Basic Law.
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- Schools asked to punish students who boycott classes, RTHK, 10 June 2020
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- "'Impossible to allow' discussions on Hong Kong independence in schools". South China Morning Post. 2020-12-02. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
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