Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Chen slams politicization of annual education prize

INCENTIVE TO LEARN Eighteen senior high school students were recognized for their achievements with cash awards of NT$150,000 from the Presidential Office

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on the public to refrain from politicizing the Presidential Education Awards, saying that the winners' hard work should be recognized.

Opposition parties have said that Chen, who established the annual award soon after he became president, should not present the awards because he is corrupt and is a bad influence on the nation's youth.

"Some people have different views about this year's Presidential Education Award for political reasons," he said.

"However, other people have written e-mails to me offering words of encouragement and hope to see the award ceremony continue. Some praise the award highly, saying it has great influence on children in adversity," he said

Chen said that when he established the award six years ago, he did not do it for himself but to encourage disadvantaged children.

"I hope the public does not politicize the whole thing and neglect the determination and hard work our children put into their education," Chen said, while addressing the winners of this year's Presidential Education Award ceremony, held at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.

A total of 71 winners were given prizes this year, including 27 elementary school students, 26 junior high school students and 18 senior high school students.

While each senior high school winners received NT$150,000 (US$4,687), junior high school winners received NT$100,000 and elementary school students received NT$50,000.

Chen offered some advice to the young winners, saying that with hard work comes hope.

"When there is hope, there is power. When there is power, there is success," he said. "Believe in yourself and face your future with an enterprising spirit. I believe the little giants who win the award today will rise to new heights that we cannot imagine."

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who spoke after Chen, had advice of a different kind for the young winners, telling them "You are intelligent in your childhood, but you may not be great when you grow up."

"Don't ever think that you know everything about the world when you get a full score. You are nowhere near there yet," she said. "There are more challenges lying ahead of your after you leave."

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