Opposition slams Lien on schools

EDUCATION INITIATIVE: DPP and New Party legislators say the KMT presidential candidate's universal education program is too hasty and costly


Wed, Jan 12, 2000 - Page 4

The universal 12-year education program (國民教育) proposed by KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) continued to draw divided opinions from political figures yesterday.

Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), DPP legislature caucus whip, said Lien's educational policy was incomplete and that it would hurt Taiwan's educational reform efforts if it was implemented too hastily.

Another DPP legislator, Wang To (王拓), lashed out at Lien's proposal as a "policy of vote-buying (政策賄選)."

New Party caucus convener Cheng Lung-shui (鄭龍水) voiced doubt over the extra budget needed to extend compulsory education.

"Where will the money come from?" Cheng asked.

KMT legislators, meanwhile, expressed full support for Lien's proposal at a news conference.

"The idea of the 12-year program has been in the planning for a long time," KMT legislator Lee Chuan-chaio (李全教) said.

"The KMT legislative caucus will give its support to amend the law and to help the program be carried out as soon as possible," he said.

In a radio interview yesterday, Minister of Education Kirby Yung (楊朝祥) denied his ministry is under pressure to implement the program ahead of schedule.

"The 12-year education system was first suggested when presidential adviser Lee Huan (李煥) was education minister over 10 years ago," Yung said.

"The results of the presidential election will not change or stop the reform of the education system," Yung said.

However, he admitted that the plan to issue education coupons for children at private kindergartens, scheduled to start in September, is the one program that is being pushed ahead of schedule.