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Thu, May 11, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Teachers' group supports reform

SCHOOL REPORT In what could be an early test of the president-elect's sincerity, teachers want to change the regulations for selecting senior high school principals

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Teachers' Association (NTA 全國教師會) yesterday called on the incoming administration of President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to keep his campaign promise and improve the method for selecting senior high school principals.

Senior high school principals -- who were appointed directly by the government in the past -- are required to go through a selection process before they are appointed, following a revision to the Senior High School Law in July 1999.

The Ministry of Education is still working on the selection rules and has decided, in principle, that a single committee should be set up to select new heads for all schools where there are vacancies.

The NTA, however, has expressed strong opposition to the ministry's idea.

It has advocated setting up a selection committee for each school where a position falls vacant, an idea that got Chen's backing in the run-up to the presidential election.

Because of the likely Cabinet reshuffle after Chen's inauguration on May 20, the education ministry has held back on a final decision and will wait until the new administration is in place.

"This is the very first check on educational reform that the new government should cash," said Chang Chien-huang (張簡煌), chairman of the NTA's senior high schools committee.

Chang said the open selection of school principals has been one of the key concepts for reform of the educational system.

Chang criticized the Ministry of Education's proposal as being of no help to the reform, because it denies the participation of teachers and parents and ignores the specific needs of individual schools.

"Each school has its own understanding as to what kind of principal it needs. Why don't we let their voices be heard?" Chang asked.

Under the NTA's proposal, each school with a vacancy would set up a committee consisting of teacher and parent representatives, as well as government officials, to select a principal who best meets the needs of the school.

"The principal is responsible for the realization of the school's educational philosophy," Chang said.

Responding to the NTA's appeal, DPP legislator Fan Sun-lu (范巽綠), who is set to take over as Vice Education Minister after the new Cabinet is formed, said the government will conduct an evaluation of the merits and defects of different proposals before making a final decision.

"We definitely won't rule out the possibility of accepting the NTA's proposal, but we believe an evaluation and review process is still needed," said Fan, a senior member of the legislature's Education Committee.

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