Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 55

Largest Hong Kong teachers’ union disbands amid government crackdown

Hong Kong police control access to a street in the central Mongkok neighborhood during the demonstrations in response to China’s national security law.

Hong Kong’s largest teachers’ union said it disbanded Tuesday due to the changing political climate, as the government continues its crackdown on dissent in the city.

The Hong Kong government cut ties with the pro-democracy union last week and accused it of spreading anti-Beijing and anti-government sentiment. The split came hours after Chinese state media called the union a “malignant tumor” that should be eradicated.

The Professional Teachers’ Union is the city’s largest single-industry trade union, with 95,000 members.

“Regrettably, the changes in the social and political environment in recent years have forced us to think about the way forward, and some recent rapid developments have also put us under tremendous pressure,” the union said in a statement Tuesday.

It said it would stop accepting new members and refund renewals submitted by current members. It will also lay off 200 staff members and dispose of its assets, and will soon halt its medical center services and welfare centers that sold discounted goods to members.

Full story at CNBC (August 2021)

China bans exams for six-year-old school children

New measures ban written exams for primary school children in China (Getty Images)

China has announced a ban on written exams for six and seven-year-olds.

It's the latest effort to try and relieve pressure on parents and students in a highly competitive education system.

Students used to be required to take exams from the first year of primary school, up until a university entrance exam at the age of 18.

But the education ministry said the pressure is harming the "physical and mental health" of pupils.

In a statement, the ministry said: "Exams are a necessary part of school education.... [but] some schools have problems like excessive exams, that cause excessive burden on students...this must be corrected."

The rules also limits the number of test and exams a school can set per term.

"First and second grades of elementary school will not need to take paper-based exams. For other grades, the school can organise a final exam every semester. Mid-term exams are allowed for junior high. Localities are not allowed to organise regional or inter-school exams for all grades of primary school," the Ministry of Education (MOE) added.

Full story at BBC News (August 2021)

School districts warn parents that students participating in TikTok trend could be suspended and ticketed

Several school districts including Hamilton are seeing students stealing and vandalizing school property as part of a nationwide TikTok trend.

By Eddie Morales

A TikTok trend is leaving some Milwaukee-area schools vandalized — and school districts responding with threats to close bathrooms and get police involved.

Videos tagged on TikTok as “devious lick” show students stealing school supplies and items like Smartboard remotes, soap dispensers, toilet paper and more.

In a letter to parents, Sussex Hamilton High School Principal Rebecca Newcomer said the school “may need to shut down restrooms because they will become unsanitary without soap and water.”

Newcomer said students caught stealing could be suspended from school and athletic programs, in addition to receiving a $300 citation from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.

“While the TikTok challenge may seem like an innocent prank to students, it has serious consequences,” Newcomer said in the letter. “Not only are the stolen items expensive, but they are difficult to replace during the pandemic.”

TikTok addressed the trend on Twitter, where its communications team wrote:

“We expect our community to create responsibly — online and IRL. We're removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers.”

Full story at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 2021)

India exam cheats caught with Bluetooth flip-flops

25 students had bought these flip-flops from a gang for Rs600,000 per pair

This combination created of photos taken on September 26, 2021, a man shows a flip-flop with concealed bluetooth device and a flip-flop with concealed bluetooth device in Ajmer.

New Delhi: Ten people have been arrested in India for planning to cheat in fiercely competitive teaching exams using Bluetooth devices concealed in their flip-flops, police said.

Cribbing has long been a problem in India and, for Sunday’s government exams involving 1.6 million students in Rajasthan state, police had permission to snap mobile internet access while the tests lasted.

But one group planned to get around this with devices hidden in the soles of their flip-flops that could receive ordinary calls which would be transmitted wirelessly to tiny receivers hidden in their ears.

The plan was for accomplices outside to call the hidden contraptions and dictate the correct answers to the exams, said Priti Chandra, a police official in the western city of Bikaner.

But the group of would-be teachers were arrested acting suspiciously outside the examination hall on the evening before the exams and the devices in their footwear were discovered.

“We were aware of the possibility of cheating but we thought it would be a question paper leak or someone would use the internet, which is why it was restricted in many cities,” Chandra told AFP.

“But this was a totally new modus operandi. (They) are getting so tech savvy.”

Investigations revealed that at least 25 students had bought these flip-flops from a gang for 600,000 rupees ($8,100) per pair.

Full story at Gulf News (September 2021)

China drafts law to punish parents for children's bad behaviour

Children leave a school in Shekou area of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China April 20, 2021. REUTERS/David Kirton/File Photo

BEIJING, Oct 18 (Reuters) - China's parliament will consider legislation to punish parents if their young children exhibit "very bad behaviour" or commit crimes.

In the draft of the family education promotion law, guardians will be reprimanded and ordered to go through family education guidance programmes if prosecutors find very bad or criminal behaviour in children under their care.

"There are many reasons for adolescents to misbehave, and the lack of or inappropriate family education is the major cause," said Zang Tiewei, spokesman of the Legislative Affairs Commission under the National People's Congress (NPC).

The draft family education promotion law, which will be reviewed at the NPC Standing Committee session this week, also urges parents to arrange time for their children to rest, play, and exercise.

Full story at Reuters (October 2021)

Hong Kong University orders removal of Tiananmen Square massacre statue

Pillar of Shame to be taken down amid China-imposed crackdown, with its Danish sculptor ‘shocked’ at plan to ‘desecrate’ memorial

The University of Hong Kong has ordered the Pillar of Shame statue, which commemorates the Tiananmen Square massacre, be removed from the campus. Photograph: Katherine Cheng/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

The University of Hong Kong has ordered the removal of a statue commemorating protesters killed in China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The 8-metre-high (26ft) copper statue was the centrepiece of Hong Kong’s candlelit vigils on 4 June to commemorate those killed when Chinese troops backed by tanks opened fire on unarmed pro-democracy campaigners in Beijing.

The statue, called the Pillar of Shame, shows 50 anguished faces and tortured bodies piled on one another, and has been on display at Hong Kong’s oldest university for more than two decades.

The decision was blasted by the statue’s Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt, who said its removal illustrated the ongoing purge of dissent in the once outspoken and semi-autonomous business hub.

In a legal letter to the now-disbanded Hong Kong Alliance (HKA) – the organiser of the city’s huge annual Tiananmen vigil – the university demanded the group “immediately … make arrangements for the sculpture to be removed from the university’s premises” by 5pm on 13 October.

“If you fail to remove the sculpture … it will be deemed abandoned,” the letter said.

It added that the university will deal with the statue in a manner it sees fit without further notice.

Full story at The Guardian (October 2021)