This academic year, at least 5,720 teachers departed from Hong Kong’s local school system so far, according to a Legislative Council document. The number of “drop-out teachers” has increased by more than 50% over the previous school year.
Educators at local kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, and special needs schools are all included in the preliminary estimate, which was released by the Education Bureau (EDB) on Tuesday.
Drop-out teacher numbers have increased significantly over the last several years, with an average of 3,600 instructors leaving between the 2018-19, 2019-20 academic years.
EDB noted in its report that “every year there are instructors who leave the profession for different reasons, such as retirement, further study, taking up work in other kinds of schools or outside the teaching profession, emigrating and getting married.”
With 1,780 departures, secondary school teachers made up the majority of those leaving this academic year. There were 1,690 teachers leaving kindergarten, 1,610 teachers leaving primary school, and 190 teachers leaving special needs schools.
The Education Bureau said, “According to our observation, schools are generally working well and there are adequate competent instructors.”
Those who were employed by a local school as of mid-September of the prior school year but were no longer as of mid-September of the school year concerned are referred to as “drop-out teachers.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the number of English-speaking instructors quitting the EDB’s NET program had risen to its highest level in five years.
Secondary schools saw a 13% attrition rate, which refers to instructors who did not extend their contracts and left the NET program for reasons other than retirement, in the academic year 2020-2021.
The NET attrition rate in secondary schools for the preceding four years was between 8 and 10 percent.
School dropouts have decreased in elementary schools from 16% in the 2019-2020 school year to 11% for the 2020-2020 school year.
“No substantial reasons” could be found to relate the departure of teachers from Hong Kong to its Covid-19 quarantine standards, which are still among of the tightest in the world according to Education Secretary Kevin Yeung.