Worry over study trips

Worry over study trips

Student activist group wants to ensure mainland tours won't be a 'brainwashing' exercise


Scholarism members are worried about pro-Beijing organisations running mainland trips.
Scholarism members are worried about pro-Beijing organisations running mainland trips.
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP
The Education Bureau plans to take 66,000 students on cultural exchange tours to the mainland over the next two years. The plan has sparked a new round of debate online.

Organisations like the tour operator Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers (HKFEW), which ran last year's trips, are competing for the contract to run tours from March 2014 to February 2016. But the student-led group Scholarism says it is worried about letting pro-Beijing organisations such as HKFEW continue to run the trips.

The group says students will be at risk of being brainwashed into believing Beijing's ideology.

Scholarism spokeswoman Agnes Chow says the operators of future tours should list their itinerary for the mainland trips so that students and their parents can make an informed decision.

Meanwhile, Charles Chan, a citizen who commented on the group's Facebook page yesterday, accused the government of misusing taxpayers' money by running such trips. The Education Bureau will pay 70 per cent of the expenses. Participants only have to pay HK$200 to HK$300.

Last year's trips took Primary Four to Secondary Three students to places in Guangzhou including Huizhou and Foshan. The two- to four-day trips focus on different themes from Chinese traditional architecture to green issues.

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