Teachers’ unions yesterday marched in protest of proposed amendments to the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (幼兒教育及照顧法), calling on the Ministry of Education to promote public preschools rather than carve out legal exceptions favoring private for-profit schools.
Led by the National Federation of Teachers Union, more than 8,000 protesters sang children’s songs and beat together yellow clappers as they marched up Taipei’s Zhongshan S Road to the Ministry of Education building to present their demands.
National Federation of Teachers’ Unions president Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政) said proposed amendments to the law would aid for-profit preschools by making it easier for them to acquire funds from tuition vouchers and use public land, while easing licensing requirements for preschool instructors.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
The union’s early childhood education committee vice-chair, Yan Chia-chen (顏嘉辰), said the proposed amendments would extend temporary provisions applying to private preschool teachers (教保員) who were hired before 2012, allowing them to continue to teach indefinitely while avoiding licensing requirements.
Given the substantial salary gap between licensed and unlicensed teachers, the amendment would ensure that for-profit schools would not hire licensed teachers for years to come, Yan said, adding that the amendment would allow for-profit schools to receive tuition voucher funds even if they fail to pass government evaluations.
Given the huge quality disparity among for-profit schools, promoting public preschools was the only way to guarantee preschool education was available to all families, he said.
Protesters also criticized poor working conditions in for-profit preschools, calling for more rigorous inspections.
Licensed public preschool teacher Chung Cheng-ming (鐘乘洺) said during the two years he had worked in a for-profit preschool before receiving his license, he had been forced to work 13 hours per day and some weekend hours without any overtime pay.
Poor labor conditions are the main reason most teachers want to work in the public sector, he said.
In response to the protesters’ demands, Ministry of Education section chief Hsu Li-juan (許麗娟) said that the ministry’s proposal was a compromise between the demands of teachers and for-profit preschools, adding that unlicensed instructors would be allowed to continue to teach only after they had finished 16 credits of coursework.
While the ministry’s objective is to encourage the establishment of public preschools, this is the prerogative of municipalities and counties, Hsu said.
That privately operated establishments operate year-round without summer and winter breaks sometimes makes them more convenient for parents, she added.
Ministry of Education statistics show that for-profit establishments make up 70 percent of the nation’s preschools.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,