Fri, Oct 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Education ministry proposes new rules for principals

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has completed draft amendments to the Senior High School Law (高級中學法) and Vocational School Law (職業學校法), adding for the first time clauses that allow for disciplinary measures against incompetent or miscreant principals.

The laws dictate standards in the establishment and operation of senior high and vocational schools nationwide.

"We have about 460 senior high and vocational school principals nationwide. Of that number, of course there are some whose behavior has given us cause for concern," a ministry official told the Taipei Times yesterday on condition of anonymity.

The official added that misbehavior of principals was a longstanding issue, but that the ministry lacked the legal means to dish out effective punishment.

"Much of their misbehavior stems from drunkenness," the official said, adding that principals' alcohol-related indiscretions, especially cases of drunk-driving, were affecting their schools' reputations, which in turn had persuaded the ministry to crack down.

"Drunken behavior [by principals] has been apparent for a while, but the ministry could only issue warnings. In the end, those principals were still principals," the official added.

That may cease to be the case very soon.

According the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), the draft amendments could empower school boards to ultimately decide if a principal stays or goes in the wake of disturbing behavior, regardless of whether the principal has been convicted in a court of law.

"The relevant authorities can decide for themselves [if a principal's alleged wrongdoing or incompetence] is based on fact, and then fire or demote the principal if needed," the report said yesterday.

The amendment will be forwarded to the legislature for final approval. No timeframe has been given for implementation of the proposed rules.

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