Wed, Apr 28, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Tu to tango with education ministry

RESHUFFLE A day after the Changhua County commissioner rejected an offer to become minister, the National Palace Museum director said he would take the job

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

National Palace Museum Director Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) yesterday accepted an offer to head the Ministry of Education once the Cabinet is reshuffled.

The announcement came after Changhua County Commissioner Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) on Monday rejected an invitation to head the ministry.

In other Cabinet appointments, Minister without Portfolio Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) agreed to head the Council for Cultural Affairs and National Taiwan College of Physical Education President Chen Chuan-shou (陳全壽) accepted the chairmanship of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Tu, 60, was the director of the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica from 1995 to 2000.

According Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Premier Yu Shyi-kun asked Tu about his interest in the position yesterday after Wong had rejected the offer.

"The premier had originally preferred to have a woman lead the education ministry," Lin said at a press conference yesterday.

In addition to an education background, Lin said, a good education minister must possess administrative experience and a zest to push for reforms.

Wong turned down the offer for what she claimed were her constituents' requests and her obligation to fulfill her 20-month mandate.

Calling the offer "unexpected," Tu said he was willing to take up the position if his contribution could be a plus to the government.

"A nation's competitiveness takes root in education and it takes much time and effort," Tu said. "I think I need to do a lot of homework to prepare for the challenge."

Earlier yesterday, Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) said he thought it was not a bad idea for Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) to stay on if there was no appropriate candidate for the post.

"It's not a good thing to change the education minister so frequently," Lee said.

"It's a difficult job and I believe that whoever takes this position will know how difficult it is," he said.

Lee added that Huang has experience in dealing with education reform.

Chen Chi-nan, 57, was appointed minister without portfolio in 2002 and was put in charge of culture-related bills.

The Yale-educated anthropologist was a research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of Ethnology from 1978 to 1985. He also served as the vice chairman of the Council for Cultural Affairs from 1994 to 1997.

The 63-year-old Chen Chuan-shou (陳全壽) has been at the National Olympic Committee's Committee of Sport Science since 1999.

Meanwhile, Lin revealed yesterday that at least six Cabinet officials may stay on their posts. They include Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南), Chairwoman of Council of Labor Affairs Chen Chu (陳菊), Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全), Director-General of the Central Personnel Administration Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋), Chairwoman of Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission Chang Fu-mei (張富美) and transportation minister Lin Ling-san (林陵三).

Yu will start inquiring the interests of incumbent Cabinet officials today and plans to complete the inquiry process by the end of the week.

Additional reporting by Jewel Huang

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