Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Dozens leave school amid economic crisis

TOUGH TIMES More than 40 high school or vocational school ­students in Taipei have dropped out of school to find work because of financial difficulties at home

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dozens of Taipei City students dropped out of school last semester because of economic difficulties, the city government said yesterday as it pledged to provide assistance to students and their parents to keep them in school.

The current recession has made it difficult for many students to pay tuition or school lunch fees, a problem even in the capital city, which is the wealthiest city in the nation.

A total of 55 students in Taipei City dropped out of school last semester, with more than 40 of them high school or vocational school ­students who chose to work instead because of financial difficulties at home, statistics from the Taipei City Department of Education showed.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday called on municipal schools to help students stay in the classroom, while urging students to explain their difficulties to teachers so that assistance could be provided.

“We understand the decision of those students to help out with their families’ financial situation, but it’s a pity that they are unable to finish school,” Hau said at a meeting with municipal junior high and high school principals.

“We cannot afford to lose any students, and I ask principals and teachers to be aware of each student’s situation and provide all necessary help immediately,” he said.

Hau also said he regretted a Taipei Jianguo High School student’s decision to transfer to a private school, adding that the city’s Department of Labor and Department of Social Affairs provided different subsidies and job opportunities to families in need.

The student, surnamed Lin, gave up his studies at Jianguo High because he gained a NT$1 million scholarship to attend a private school for three years.

Jianguo High School said it was the first time that a student had transferred to another school because of financial concerns.

Wu Ching-shan (吳清山), commissioner of the Education Department, said the department has initiated a program to provide subsidies for students from low-income families and those whose parents were experiencing financial difficulties because of the recession.

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