Tue, Mar 19, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Education minister slams Olympiad scam

BIOLOGY LESSONS Huang Jung-tsun said his ministry will investigate allegations of bribery concerning the International Biology Olympiad, as will the Control Yuan

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

At a news conference yesterday, Minister of Education Huang Jung-tsun, right, and Vice Minister Fan Shiun-liu, comment on the bribery scandal surrounding the International Biology Olympiad.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Minister of Education Huang Jung-tsun (黃榮村) yesterday lashed out at the two educators who were allegedly involved in the recent bribery scam concerning the International Biology Olympiad.

"It is a shame that they [the two teachers] crossed the line of good ethics," said Huang. "They will surely have to pay a high price as the consequence of what they have done."

Huang made the comments yesterday at a press conference held by his ministry to address the ministry's stand regarding the bribery scandal.

The scandal came under the spotlight last week when Chen Chia-jen (陳家楨), whose son is presently studying at the prominent Taipei Chienkuo High School (建國中學), revealed the bribery scam at a press conference in the company of PFP legislator Diane Lee (李慶安).

In exchange for his son's guaranteed candidacy two years ago in the biology category of the prestigious Olympiads contests, Chen said that he had lent a total of NT$400,000 to Tang Ping-yuan (湯炳垣), a biology teacher at his son's school, and treated both Tang and Tseng Jer-ming (曾哲明), a biology professor at National Taiwan Normal University whom also served as a judge in the competition, to a hostess club to have sex with prostitutes.

Following Chen's accusations that Tseng had tampered with his son's contest grades to allow him to make the cut, Tseng quit his job as the director of Kaohsiung County's Bureau of Education, a position that he had held since January.

The Olympiad contests are international competitions sponsored annually by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on various subjects such as math, chemistry, physics, biology, information technology and geology.

"The Ministry of Education has already set up an investigation task force to look into the bribery matter as well as to investigate whether Tseng had indeed tampered with the student's grading of his candidacy in the International Biology Olympiad." Huang said.

Huang added that Tang has been given a major demerit for going to a hostess club and that Tseng would also be stepping down from his post from the National Taiwan Normal University.

"As for their other actions concerning the scam, they will be under investigation by the Taipei Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau and the Control Yuan, with my ministry's full corporation," Huang said.

Meanwhile, Huang said the Ministry of Education would also re-evaluate its system concerning the contests.

Under the current educational system, high school students with exceptional performances in the Olympiad contests get their schools' recommendation for admission to universities.

"This system needs to be reviewed because students' participation in these contests should not be connected with students' chances of getting admitted into universities," the minister said.

Huang added that, since Taiwan's participation began in 1992, "Taiwan student teams have had an excellent record in these international Olympiads, winning gold, silver and bronze medals every year."

"Yet it is important to make it clear to the students that the point of them taking part in these academic contests is not so that they can win admission into university," he said.

"But rather, it should be a stage where they can exercise their interest, confidence and creativity in the field of science."

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