A leadership training program by charitable organization Po Leung Kuk has come under fire after students from Ying Wa College decried its “violent and abusive” training methods, Apple Daily reports.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, a student from the prestigious boys’ secondary school accused a Po Leung Kuk instructor surnamed Leung of torturing him and his classmates after they failed to climb a three-meter wall, which was part of the program’s physical training session in 2015.
The instructor grabbed the boy by the neck and ordered him to tear down their hand-made class flag as an insult.
When the boy refused, Leung got angry, took out an army knife and shoved it to the hand of another student and told him to destroy the flag.
The teacher and the boys got into a brawl for around two minutes until another instructor stepped in. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
When the students were asked to join the same training camp the following year, they protested.
They reported their quarrel with the instructor to the school administration, but were told that the instructor was merely trying to teach them not to give up so easily.
Some students wanted to leave the program, but were warned that they would face expulsion if they did not comply.
The students said the Po Leung Kuk leadership training program was like a form of “brainwashing”.
They said the instructor who threatened them with a knife was also supportive of the controversial national education program, which the government shelved following massive protests by students and parents.
“Every country has its own national education subjects so what’s wrong with Hong Kong having its own curriculum?” the students quoted the instructor as saying.
The training program has been running in Po Leung Kuk-affiliated primary and secondary schools and partner schools since 2006.
Its aim is to “enhance the leadership skills of students and prepare them with the knowledge, skills, confidence and discipline to take on future leadership roles”, according to the Po Leung Kuk website.
More than 100,000 students have participated in about 800 training camps since the program started.
The feedback from schools, parents and students has been “excellent”, the website said.
On Monday Ying Wa College said on its website that its management would postpone cooperation with Po Leung Kuk and start seeking a new partner for its extracurricular training programs.
Po Leung Kuk said it would respect Ying Wa’s decision but stressed that it had never received any complaint about their camps or trainers.
In a reply to media inquiries, the Education Bureau said it has contacted the school to follow up on the case.
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