Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Chen promises to close education gap

REFORM The president said that the government will help to reduce the difference between the tuition fees and academic resources of public and private colleges

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday promised that the government and the Ministry of Education (MOE) will cooperate to facilitate the development of private schools and reduce the difference between the tuition fees and academic resources of public and private colleges.

Chen made the promise in a speech at the award ceremony for this year's Ten Outstanding Career Educators of Private Schools, which was held at Fu Jen Catholic University (輔仁大學).

Chen said he believed the educational reform will eventually "blossom and bear positive fruit" as long as everyone works together with wisdom and patience.

"With the rapid development in democracy and intensifying competition in the world, the educational issue becomes increasingly complicated and implementing educational reforms becomes thorny," Chen said.

"Despite fervent criticism about educational reform, the government's resolution to accomplish the reform will never be frustrated," he said.

Chen said that the education ministry collected many suggestions on how to advance the quality of private schools during the National Conference on Educational Development held last weekend.

He said the ministry has decided to assist private colleges in creating their own distinctive characteristics so they can compete with public colleges, which attract the most students because of low tuition fees and better academic resources.

Responding to criticism about private schools' high tuition fees, Chen said that the government would allocate a budget to reduce the difference between the tuition fees of public and private schools.

The government will also encourage people to donate money to private schools by means of tax exemptions or reductions.

The president also urged private schools to make their financial affairs more transparent, so that the government can devise more effective ways to help them deal with financial problems.

Lo Chuan-chin (羅傳進), the president of the Cultural and Educational Association of Private Schools (私立學校文教協會), who launched the awards in 2001, said the association aimed to reward those entrepreneurs who had faith in education and who wished to promote the nation's education by contributing their money and energy to education.

"I hope that people can understand that we are running schools earnestly, not just trying to make a profit," Lo said.

This year's awards went to the president of the Tzu Chi University's (慈濟大學) Master Cheng Yen (證嚴法師), the presidents of Providence University (靜宜大學), Chen-shiu University (正修科技大學), Kai-nan Management College (開南管理學院), Taichung Stella Matutina Girls' High School (曉明女中), Ta-hsiung Senior High School (大興高中), Chun-hsin Senior High School (忠信高中), Huey-deng Senior High School (慧登高中), Chungyu Institute of Technology (崇右技術學院) and Li-jen Elementary school (立人國民小學).

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