Foreign native English teachers in government schools may be required to swear loyalty to Hong Kong as swearing requirement grows

Foreign mother tongue (NET) English teachers in Hong Kong’s public schools may be required to swear allegiance to the city as authorities seek to extend civil servants’ loyalty pledge to all government employees .

Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip said on Monday temporary and short-term contractors hired by the government would join more than 177,000 civil servants in declaring allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR and pledging to respect the Basic Law. But the minister did not give details on when and how the requirement will be imposed.

Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip (middle). Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

In response to HKFPthe Civil Service Bureau said workers appointed by the government for non-civil service should be considered public officials, who are required to swear allegiance to the city under section 6 of the act on national security promulgated by Beijing.

“[T]their duties are comparable to those of civil servants,” the office said.

The office said HKFP that whether a government employee must make a declaration at this stage depends on their terms of employment. The authorities are focusing on dealing with the provisions relating to the taking of an oath or signing of a declaration by serving civil servants, and issues related to the requirement of non-civil service personnel “will be dealt with later”.

File photo: Tom Grundy.

“For those appointed for non-public service conditions (including native English teachers), they will not be required to make the declaration at this stage and we will deal with the relevant issue at a later stage” , did he declare.

HKFP contacted the Native English Speaking Teachers’ Association for comment.

According to the Office of Education, NETs are appointed on a two-year contract, typically beginning and ending in mid-August. The contract is likely to be renewed after its expiration. Most NETs are foreigners, and those in public schools are on the civil servant pay scale.

Last Friday, the government said more than 4,000 civil servants had sworn loyalty, including senior civil servants. The others must respond to their ministry’s letter within four weeks and sign a document stating that they will bear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, devote themselves to their duties and be accountable to the government.