Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Union protests Yu Da teacher layoffs

SUFFICIENT PROOF:A ministry official said that Yu Da University of Science and Technology met its obligations in attempting to provide classes for laid-off instructors

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Chen Yen-chang, left, and other laid-off instructors from Yu Da University of Science and Technology in Miaoli County protest in front of the Ministry of Education in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

Representatives of the Taiwan Higher Education Union yesterday gathered outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei to protest what they termed the lack of due process in college instructor layoffs.

Union representatives said that the case of instructors laid off from Yu Da University of Science and Technology in Miaoli County could set an important precedent, as colleges prepare for massive layoffs predicted to come with falling enrollments expected after years of low birth rates.

“The instructors were not laid off because of their performance, but because the school was unwilling to provide courses for them to teach in other departments,” union organization department director Lin Bo-yi (林柏儀) said. “If allowed to stand, the school’s decision could have an important demonstrative effect on other schools.”

A union representative said that, while Yu Da is in excellent financial health, the teachers’ departments were deemed unprofitable and marked for termination. They said that under the Teachers’ Act (教師法), schools are not allowed to lay off instructors in such cases, as long as there are courses in other departments that they can teach.

“Previously, I taught courses in other departments, but those departments told me that I could not take on those courses anymore, because the school had determined that I was an ‘excess instructor,’” laid-off teacher Hu Kuei-ling (胡桂玲) said.

She added that many departments had given courses the laid-off instructors could have taught to part-time instructors from outside the university.

Lin said the Ministry of Education had failed in its responsibility to oversee the layoffs, not requiring the university to provide proof that there were no courses available outside the teachers’ departments.

University Secretarial Office secretary-general Lee Yi-hsiang (李義祥) said that for the instructors in question to remain employed by teaching courses in other departments, they would need to submit a transfer request that must be approved by the other departments.

Each instructor in question either failed to submit a transfer request or had their request rejected by the other departments, he said.

Senior ministry official Chiang Hsiu-chu (姜秀珠) said that under current regulations, a university can demonstrate that it met its obligations to seek alternative employment for instructors by providing proof that its teachers review committee met and determined that an educator either failed to apply for a transfer or had been rejected.

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