AAC denies teacher ‘thank you’ banquets ban

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–The Agency Against Corruption (AAC) under the Ministry of Justice yesterday denied media reports that it has proposed a ban on the popular practice of students hosting “thank you” banquets for their teachers prior to graduation. The AAC issued the denial at a press conference in response to reports of the agency’s proposed ban of the practice in its Campus Manual for Honesty and Faith paper published last December.

The manual said public school teachers could be influenced by the banquets when grading the performances of their students.

But the AAC clarified at the press conference that it’s a kind of virtue for students to host the banquets to show their respect and appreciation for their teachers ahead of graduation ceremonies.

Accordingly, the agency stressed, teachers can freely attend the banquets without having to report their attendance to relevant authorities, and there is absolutely no ban on such an activities. Chang Hung-mo, deputy director of the AAC, told reporters that the vast majority of teachers finish grading their students before the banquets are held, and therefore there should be no reason to ban teachers from attending the parties.

Chang cautioned, however, that if teachers find out that the banquets are to be held at some “inappropriate places” or at very expensive restaurants, they should report it to authorities before the events take place.

The Campus Manual for Honesty and Faith is intended simply to remind public school teachers, who are government employees, of the necessity of complying with the regulations for civil servants, by highlighting possible problems in campus management, including conflicts of interest and receiving improper gifts on the part of teachers.

Also yesterday, quite a few lawmakers noted at an education committee meeting of the Legislative Yuan that banning teachers from attending banquets hosted by students before graduation is a kind of “insult” to teachers.

In response, Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling said that there is nothing wrong with students hosting banquets for teachers as a gesture of expressing their respect and appreciation prior to graduation. Chiang said that he would move to communicate with the Ministry of Justice to work out reasonable regulations in this regard. Chiang told lawmakers that he has attended such banquets in his capacity both as a student and as a teacher. As the “thank you banquets” for teachers are thrown by all the graduating students for all of their teachers, instead of for any specific teachers, there should be no problem for teachers to attend the banquets.

But the education minister stressed that the “thank you” banquets shouldn’t be held extravagantly, and should highlight the essence of “appreciating teachers” instead of focusing on the content of the “banquets.”