The hidden cost of Taiwan’s cramming culture

By Sun Hsin Hsuan, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In the aftermath of the suicide of Lin Yi-han (林奕含). a young writer haunted by an alleged rape by her cram school tutor, Taiwan is reexamining its prevalent cram-school culture.

In a reaction to the alleged offense, New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) on Wednesday called for an amendment to the law to mandate that all cram school teachers register with their real names. A rising sentiment of agitation and grievance among the public has led to a wave of reflection on the wide-spread cram school culture after the suicide of the 26-year-old novelist. Lin was best known for her acclaimed novel about a high school girl enticed into sexual relations by her cram-school tutor. After her death, the novelist’s parents wrote on social media claiming that their daughter died not just because of the major depressive order she had struggled with since she was 16 years old, but also because she had been traumatized by a similar offense allegedly committed by her cram school instructor when she was in high school.  Lin’s name had been withheld by local Chinese-language media upon the request of authorities in Tainan as it is illegal to reveal the names of victims according to the Sexual Assault Prevention Act.  The late novelist’s death and the subsequent revelations about her alleged rape have become one of highest profile stories in Taiwan, prompting others to come forward to share their experiences with predatory cram school teachers.  The NPP’s Hung demanded on Wednesday that the Supplementary Education Act be amended to require that every cram school owner and teacher hired is registered under their real names for the protection of students.  Over the years, inappropriate behavior by popular cram-school teachers had been allowed to go unpunished with the help of the institutions they serve in, Hung said, because the schools did not want to risk damaging their reputation by reporting their teachers.