Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union
|Full name||Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union|
|Head union||Confederation of Trade Unions|
|Key people||President Fung Wai-wah|
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union (HKPTU) (Chinese: 香港教育專業人員協會) is a pro-democracy trade union, professional association and social concern group in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest teachers' organisation in Hong Kong with more than 90,000 teachers, 90% of the education practitioners in Hong Kong as its members.
The PTU is known to be political liberal, socially activist, and vehement in defence of the legal rights of teachers. It aims at uniting co-workers, protecting their rights and providing them with various welfare services and also operates a very successful cooperative department store. It strives to improve education quality through promoting of teachers’ professionalism, and through advocating of education policies, which ensure an environment for every student to learn and grow with sufficient assistance and care. It actively participates in various social actions for the justice, well-being and democratic rights of the people in Hong Kong and China.
The highest authority of the PTU is the Annual General Meeting, which is attended by members’ representatives, who are elected by teachers in every school, at a ratio of 1 representative to 15 members. When the Annual General Meeting is not in session, a 39-member Executive Committee runs the day-to-day affairs of the union. A 19-member Senate monitors the Executive Committee’s work. Both the Executive Committee and the Senate are directly elected by all members of the union in the form of one-person-one-vote. All votes are confidential. At present, the President of the union is Mr. Fung Wai-wah, and the Chairman of the Senate is Mr. Pun Tin-chi.
The PTU was founded in response to the cut in salaries of certificated teachers by 15% in 1973. It launched the certificated teachers' strike and became an influential force in Hong Kong.
During the 1970s the PTU repeatedly challenged the government and even forced it to make concessions, in events like the Golden Jubilee Secondary School Incident in 1978 which was triggered by alleged corruption in a secondary school. The school was shut down by the Education Department after 900 students and teachers organised a sit-in to protest financial irregularities. 16 of the school's teachers were dismissed. Through the efforts of the HKPTU, all the teachers won reinstatement. Through this incident, the PTU grew its importance as the most powerful pressure group in Hong Kong.
On 12 December 1980, the British journalist Duncan Campbell revealed the existence of the Standing Committee on Pressure Groups (SCOPG) which set up by the Hong Kong government to increase its control over the opposition groups under secret surveillance in New Statesman and PTU was one of the pressure groups. On 28 January 1981, the Hong Kong Standard revealed eleven confidential reports and the PTU was on a "Red List" which listed groups were supposedly threatened by Communist infiltration.
The PTU has hold the Education functional constituency in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong since its creation in 1985. In the 1985 LegCo election, the founding president Szeto Wah was elected to the Legislative Council in the Teaching constituency and was re-elected in 1988 LegCo election. In 1985 District Board elections, the PTU reportedly won 24 seats. By the late 1980s the PTU was the largest single union in Hong Kong with over 32,000 members. President Szeto Wah remained the key figure of the PTU even after his stepped down as president in 1990 and remained active in the political arena until his death.
The PTU participated in the anti-Daya Bay Nuclear Plant campaign In 1986. In the same year, the PTU initiated the Joint Committee on the Promotion of Democratic Government (JCPDG) which demanded for the constitutional reform for the direct election in 1987. The PTU participated a public gathering in Victoria Park in support of the direct election of the Legislative Council, advocating a democratic political system instead of the system in which the legislators where appointed by the governor.
During the Tiananmen protests of 1989, the PTU joined with other 14 member organisations of the JCPDG issued a public statement in support of the pro-democracy student-led movement in May and established the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. The PTU has remained the core member of the alliance.
In 1990 Szeto Wah co-founded the pro-democracy party United Democrats of Hong Kong which later merged with the Meeting Point into the Democratic Party. In the first LegCo direct election in 1991, Szeto Wah contested in Kowloon East and Cheung Man-kwong, PTU president and also United Democrats member, ran for the Teaching constituency.
The PTU furthermore fought for higher salaries for kindergarten teachers. Finally in 1994, the Education Department agreed to subsidize the salaries of teachers in all non-profit making kindergartens. At the same time, funding was provided to expand training programs to ensure most kindergarten teachers should be given the chance to receive training to become qualified.
Szeto Wah retired from the Legislative Council in 2004 and Cheung Man-kwong retired from the Education constituency in 2012. PTU member Ip Kin-yuen became the PTU representative in the LegCo since the 2012 LegCo election.
- "About us". Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union.
- Tsim, T. L. (1989). The Other Hong Kong Report 1989. Chinese University Press. p. 171.
- Lall, M. C.; Vickers, Edward (2009), Education as a Political Tool in Asia, Taylor & Francis, pp. 93–94, ISBN 0-203-88466-3
- Ortmann, Stephan (2009). Politics and Change in Singapore and Hong Kong: Containing Contention. Routledge. p. 66.
- Ortmann 2009, p. 98–100.
- Tsim 1989, p. 172.
- Chiu, Stephen Wing Kai; Lui, Tai Lok (2000). The Dynamics of Social Movements in Hong Kong: Real and Financial Linkages and the Prospects for Currency Union. Hong Kong University Press. p. 112.
- Butenhoff, Linda (1999). Social Movements and Political Reform in Hong Kong. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 70.