Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 4 News List

MOE’s flipflop on teacher transfers criticized

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Secondary and Elementary School Principals Association of the ROC director-general Hsueh Chun-kuang, second left, and National Alliance of Parents Organizations director-general Wu Fu-pin, second right, yesterday in Taipei criticize the Ministry of Education’s decision to delay new rules governing teacher transfers.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Education (MOE) should remain firm on rules governing new teacher transfers to protect students’ interests, parent groups said yesterday.

Rules announced last month would have immediately lengthened the time that elementary and junior-high school teachers are required to teach at a school before applying for a transfer from two to three years, matching standards applied to high-school teachers.

After coming under fire from lawmakers during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei last week, Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) yesterday said implementation of the rules would be delayed for two years to give teachers time to adjust.

Because teachers “carry” their classes, teaching the same group of students through successive years, students lose out when their teachers transfer early because new teachers are not familiar with their needs and learning styles, National Alliance of Parents Organizations director-general Wu Fu-pin (吳福濱) said.

Teachers are particularly important in remote districts, where they often take on a parental role for students from disadvantaged groups, he said.

However, many teachers in remote districts apply for a transfer after a year, taking advantage of contract clauses allowing them to apply for early transfer in the event of “hardship,” leaving most students to be taught by substitute teachers who change every year, he said.

“Teachers should be particularly careful to be responsible; what they do might influence the life of a child,” Wu said.

Ministry of Education section head Hsu Li-juan (許麗娟) said the old regulations were more flexible than those announced last month because they allowed local government to define exceptions.

Secondary and Elementary School Principals Association of the ROC director-general Hsueh Chun-kuang (薛春光) said that under the Teachers’ Act (教師法) and National Education Act (國民教育法), transfers are subject to the ministry discretions rather than a teacher’s “right.”

Decisions on the issue should be made based on the public interest — rather than the demands of a small group of teachers, he said.

The ministry said 798 junior-high and 896 elementary teachers applied for transfers last year and were granted them.

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