Teachers’ Act draft bill sparks controversy

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The Education and Culture Committee under the Legislature (Legislative Yuan) reviewed on April 15 the Teachers’ Act draft bill, whose article regarding the dismissal of national teacher sparked controversy. During the interpellation session, KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) warned that it would be unfair for teachers to face the risk of being dismissed if they criticize the Ministry of Education or join a protest.

Ko said that the draft law proposed by the Executive Yuan is a far cry from the version proposed by Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠). When the bill was announced in early March, many DPP legislators came out to support the law, saying that it would only apply to those who are unqualified. “If there is no issue with the law; they wouldn’t come out to provide so many explanations,” said Ko.

Ko also pointed out that any teacher who is proved to have violated professional ethics, academic ethics, or stained the dignity of the position, could be dismissed without further notice according to the bill. Still, regulations aren’t clear, which many teachers find extremely worrisome as they could potentially be fired at will.

Also, when assessing the qualifications of teachers, the recommendations of teacher representatives in the evaluation committee account to less than 50 percent in the final decision. External staff could also be invited to participate in the decision process which teachers believe is unacceptable.