Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

New cram school regulations proposed

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Lawmakers yesterday proposed amendments to the Supplementary Education Act (補習及進修教育法) to tighten regulations governing the cram school industry, amid accusations that neglect by the Ministry of Education allowed sex offenders to become teachers.

The proposal came in the wake of the reported suicide of a writer who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a cram-school teacher years before.

“People have read numerous reports of sexual harassment and sex crimes at cram schools,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said. “It has led to anger and revulsion in our society.”

Chen said that statistics showed that up to 83 percent of high-school students attend cram schools or receive private tutoring.

According to the proposal, teachers at cram schools must provide documentation of their full name and academic qualifications, as well as police documents to certify they have no criminal history.

Chen said that the ministry and education boards should establish a monitoring mechanism to track and report academic workers convicted of sexual assault, sexual harassment or child abuse offenses to bar them from teaching.

DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) supported a proposal to require cram schools to use their teachers’ real names in advertising so students and parents could be certain of their identity and nothing was hidden.

New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) said she would propose an amendment to tighten regulations governing cram schools.

Hung said she would put forward an amendment requiring cram-school owners and employees to use their real names when recruiting students and offering lessons.

Penalties would include revocation of the school’s license or suspension of the right to recruit students, Hung said.

Several issues that have long plagued the industry have come to the forefront since the death of the writer, who reportedly experienced depression for years after the alleged assault, Hung said.

One such issue is the practice of part-time teachers using fake names while working illegally, she said.

Even when such teachers are caught, they simply assume a new name and move on to another school, she said.

Parents often complain that they could not verify the background of a teacher because they were using a fake name, Hung said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Lin said that there are 19,000 cram schools in the nation, many of which do not disclose the real names of their teachers.

Students and parents cannot verify the academic or criminal backgrounds of teachers, Lin said, adding that the ministry needs to amend the law to address the problem.

However, Chang Hao-jan (張浩然), director of a Taipei supplementary education association, said that regulations requiring real names would not necessarily help stop sexual assault.

“Stricter punishments would be more effective at preventing sexual assaults than rules to make teachers use their real names,” Chang said.

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