Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Legislators blast Presidential Office youth training plan

By Lee Yu-hsin, Hung Su-ching, and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with Staff writer

Approving a NT$2.8 million (US$95,200) cash allotment for a National Youth Commission program to post talented youths at the Presidential Office for leadership training would ruin promising young talent, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.

According to a preliminary budget sent to the legislature for approval, the commission would hold workshops to enhance the creative and innovative skills of teenagers who have recently left vocational high schools to encourage them to start businesses, participate in international competitions and hone their leadership skills.

The leadership project would select promising and talented young people to join either the Presidential Office or units within the central government for internships to cultivate their leadership abilities and learn about how public policy is formed and implemented, the budget report said.

However, Lin said the budget report showed that most of the commission’s responsibilities had been transferred to the Ministry of Education or other units within the government and that the commission’s remaining projects had also been cut.

The commission is to be merged with the Bureau of Youth Development next year and its current budget of NT$397 million is to be cut to NT$249 million next year.

The sudden addition of the budget — one that furthermore appears to be an attempt to flatter superiors — to select promising youths for the program is odd, Lin said.

“President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is known for its lack of leadership, so what is there to learn from the Presidential Office?” Lin asked, adding that the commission’s efforts to flatter Ma would only ruin the program’s participants.

The commission has a bad record in youth training programs, such as when it used youth workshops to bolster Ma’s election campaign last year, Lin said.

Lin said that with the new legislative session about to begin, he would propose cutting the funding entirely when the Education and Culture Committee convenes.

The commission said the project was in accordance with Ma’s youth policies.

The project attempts to reproduce the White House’s youth internship programs to give participants an understanding of how the Presidential Office works, the commission said, adding that the finer points of the project were still being ironed out and there was lots of room for change.

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