Tue, Jun 05, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Youthful knowledge gap

Article 158 of the Constitution stipulates that education and culture shall aim to develop among citizens a national spirit, a spirit of self-government, national morality, a good physique, scientific knowledge and the ability to earn a “living.” Article 7 of the National Education Act (國民教育法) also states that the curricula for elementary and junior-high schools shall be centered around national spirit and a “living” education for citizens. In terms of basic education, the school system in Taiwan has focused mainly on teaching students what they need for “living.”

Basic education in Taiwan includes social programs, such as citizenship and living education. With these subjects, the public will acquire a basic knowledge about civil law, criminal law and legal proceedings after completing their compulsory education. Perhaps the public does not understand the legal system as thoroughly as lawyers do; however, understanding basic legal concepts has become “common sense” for Taiwanese. That said, pupils are not taught anything about labor laws in school and do not even learn about labor regulations when they become employees which could be useful for “self-protection” in the workplace.

For instance, a 15-year-old teenager who just graduated from junior-high school may already have had work experience or a part-time job without knowing that, under Article 44 of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), they are classified as child workers. According to Article 6 of the Labor Insurance Act (勞工保險條例), any teenager in employment qualifies for insurance and is even entitled to pension rights. According to Article 14 of the same act, the young worker is entitled to take 6 percent of their pension as “savings.”

If people are not familiar with these tenets of labor laws, they will not know their workers’ rights as protected by Article 44 to Article 48 of the Labor Standards Act. Aside from teenage workers, everybody will either be an employer or an employee in the working world after completing their education. If workers and their employers lack knowledge of labor laws, then their rights in their respective roles cannot be properly respected. In conclusion, the government should include labor-related laws as part of the curriculum of “citizenship and living education” in schools.

According to the monthly report on labor statistics released by the Council of Labor Affairs in April, there are 11.2 million workers in Taiwan, of which, 872,000 are aged between 15 and 24.

The nation is expecting the government to institute labor protection for the youth as soon as possible.

Yi Chun Chang

The Foundation of Chinese Labor Management Affairs

A god among mere mortals

“Traffic” is an interminable issue to discuss (in vain); something that always makes me apoplectic — no, not the topic, but the demeanor of Taiwanese in traffic.

If there is any room after this topic is discussed for further conversation, then it may continue on the topic of “social conduct” — which also receives a way “below par” score from me.

To proceed with my haranguing: If anyone is still not sated by now, how about dealing with the presumptuous cretins of everyday Taiwanese who has (sic) no concept of social conduct, respect and integrity?

Another harbinger of a society’s nadir: infrastructure and general education.

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