Wed, Nov 19, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ministry considers moving teachers to rural areas amid glut

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Education is considering moves to encourage teachers to accept positions in remote areas as it continues to tackle an ongoing oversupply of educators, Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said yesterday.

Years of declining student numbers have created fierce competition for teaching posts in major cities, with an acceptance rate of less than 0.5 percent for elementary teaching posts in Taipei this year, according to Taipei’s Department of Education.

Ministry statistics show that only half of those who receive a teacher’s license find a teaching position the same year.

At a conference on teacher training, Wu said the glut primarily reflects the backlog left by years of oversupply.

The situation will gradually be rectified with time, as ministry efforts have already reduced the number of graduating students to about parity with teacher retirements, he said.

Wu added that future ministry actions to relieve market pressure will focus on increasing teacher-student ratios, with increased hiring of teachers who can serve as student counselors.

Wu said that even though competition for teaching positions in cities is fierce, schools in remote areas have difficulty filling posts.

“Full-time teaching positions are available, but teachers do not want to stay in remote areas,” he said, adding that a system needs to be designed to rectify the imbalance of teacher supply between urban and rural schools.

Wu said the ministry hopes to encourage teachers to take positions in remote areas and remain in them for several years by initiating a system whereby teachers in rural areas will gain bonus points in exams for city teaching positions, making it more likely that they will be considered for the more attractive posts.

Meanwhile, when questioned about independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) proposal to establish a team of professional “dispatch teachers” to fill short-term teaching positions in the capital, Wu said that the ministry hopes to establish a similar platform in every county and city to provide short-term educators in remote areas.

Wu said both proposals under discussion will need to be passed by the School Teacher’s Evaluation Committee when it meets in January before they could be implemented.

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