Fri, Oct 28, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT lawmakers criticize plan to phase out military instructors from schools

By Chen Yu-fu and Rachel Lin  /  Staff reporters

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday raise their fists at a news conference in Taipei as they criticize the government’s plan to phase out military instructors at schools by 2021.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday criticized a plan to phase out military instructors from schools by 2021, saying that it would increase security risks, while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said the role of military instructors is overvalued and abused.

While universities can retire military instructors at their discretion, military instructors at high schools should stay, because their roles in handling bullies, drug abuse and psychological counseling cannot be filled by teachers or security guards, KMT Legislator Lee Yan-hsiu (李彥秀) told a news conference in Taipei.

The Legislative Yuan in 2013 passed a resolution to phase out all military instructors from schools within eight years.

KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) questioned the need for the phase-out, as universities have hired retired military instructors as security personnel.

“Military instructors are acceptable if they are not in uniform? What kind of logic is that?” Ko asked.

Ko said the removal of military instructors without proper supportive measures would “make parents anxious, while emboldening gangsters and drug dealers.”

KMT Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) said military instructors were assigned to schools during the Martial Law era to collect intelligence, but today there is no need to censor student activities.

There is a rigorous training and evaluation regime for the instructors, who are responsible for military training, campus security and counseling, retired military instructor Chin Su-Hsien (金肅賢) said at the KMT caucus’ news conference.

How would such duties be fulfilled if military instructors are phased out, Chin asked.

DPP Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee that the education system is “addicted to” military instructors and has abused their services.

Military instructors are schools’ “iPhones,” as they are asked to fill multiple roles and are commonly overworked, she said.

“Military instructors are not all-powerful, but they are perceived as a role that cannot be done without. Undue praise of their functions shows that the education system has failed,” she said.

Schools have become dependent on military instructors because they have shifted too much responsibility to them, DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) said.

The Ministry of Education retains a number of military instructors, so it should set an example before asking schools to retire them, Huang said.

Military instructors are recruited either from the military or from a special training program run by the ministry, DPP Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said, asking whether they could be transferred to positions with the Ministry of National Defense.

The defense ministry said the instructors cannot be reassigned to military posts even if they have served in the military.

The education ministry should help the instructors gain promotion to the rank of major to entitle them to a life-time pension and help them seek employment opportunities after retirement, Chung said.

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