Fri, Jan 02, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Lawmaker proposes government fund to aid students in need

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) proposed yesterday that the Ministry of Education set up a fund to help reduce the impact of the global financial crisis on students.

Kuan issued a press release calling on the ministry to request a budget from the Executive Yuan to establish a “schooling stability fund,” given the possible impact of the nation’s economic downturn on students.

Kuan stressed the importance of the fund, saying that many students might be forced to drop out of school because their parents might lose their jobs.

Among the Cabinet’s NT$500 billion (US$15.2 billion) special budget request to increase investment in public works in the next four years, the ministry only requested NT$40 billion, the majority of which would be spent on the renovation of old school buildings, she said.

The Legislative Yuan has been negotiating a special bill proposed by the Cabinet in November to increase investment in public construction projects.

She urged the ministry to propose the stipend as soon as possible to fully cover the costs of elementary school students’ school lunch and textbooks and tuition of vocational high school students.

“[The ministry] must include this ‘social security mechanism’ in the Executive Yuan’s NT$500 billion budget proposal. If the ministry does not deal with the problem now, it would be too late for the ministry to request a budget after the financial storm escalates,” she said.

Kuan said she had also proposed that the ministry conduct research to evaluate student dropout rates and graduates’ difficulties in finding jobs after the nation was hit by the global financial crisis and come up with solutions to help students in need.

Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) has promised to review Kuan’s suggestions and calculate the budget the ministry might need, Kuan said.

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