Mon, Apr 23, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City Government launches `courtesy week'

'OTHER' EDUCATION The city's Department of Education contends it is the remit of schools to teach students using public transportation to yield their seats to people in need

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Disappointed with students occupying priority seats on the MRT, the Taipei City Department of Education is launching a campaign this week to urge students to respect the disadvantaged and yield their seats to people in need.

In launching "Traffic Courtesy Week," the department will request school administrations to promote the campaign.

The initiative came after the Taipei City Disabled Group Protection Committee shared its frustrations during a meeting on Friday about young people's reluctance to stand up for the disabled or the elderly on the MRT.


"I took the MRT every day and always saw students occupy the priority seats and ignore disabled people by pretending they were sleeping. It's very frustrating," a committee member read from a letter by a disabled resident during the meeting at Taipei City Hall.

Sharing similar experiences on the public transportation system, committee members from the Eden Social Welfare Foundation, a civil group dedicated to serving the disadvantaged, requested that the Taipei City Government find ways to remedy the situation.


Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said educating students to respect disabled individuals and yield their seats is crucial.

He said that municipal schools should include the issue in their curriculum, adding that the city government would consider adding this type of education to the index used to make school performance evaluations.

"The fact that students don't give priority seats to people in need should make school principals pause," he said on Saturday night after attending a municipal event.

In response, Wu Chin-chi (吳清基), director of the education department, said school regulations did not state that students need to give seats to the elderly and the disabled.

Wu, however, said that the department would cooperate with schools to promote the issue during the campaign.

"Rather than take disciplinary action against students who fail to be courteous to the elderly and the disabled and refuse to give up their seats, we launched the initiative to promote the concept and raise students' awareness of the issue," Wu said.

The department will invite students to share their experiences during the week, while discussing measures to encourage students to be more willing to yield seats, he added.

Some principals at municipal schools expressed their support for this type of education.

"It's necessary to educate students on the issue, as many teenagers shared distorted values and have become too self-centered," Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School principal Wu Wu-hsiung (吳武雄) said.


Wu En-hau (吳恩豪), a 17-year-old high school student, however, shared his doubts on the effectiveness of the campaign.

"I think everyone knows they should show courtesy on the MRT. It's not an issue of education. Some people just don't want to do that," he said.

"But sometimes we [students] are just really tired and carry heavy schoolbags. It's not our fault if we fall asleep on the MRT," he said.

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