Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Teachers’ groups want education minister to quit

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

The National Federation of Teachers’ Unions yesterday called on Minister of Education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) to step down, and urged teachers not to take any orders from the ministry or attend meetings presided over by Wu.

Wu has had a history of prioritizing his private interests over public interests since he was head of the National Science Council, federation president Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政) told a news conference in Taipei.

When Wu was in charge of the council, he allocated NT$500 million (US$16.9 million) to Academia Sinica’s Institute of Physics, which ended up benefiting his own research at the institute when he later became its director, Chang said.

The Control Yuan has investigated the matter and issued a correction to Wu, Chang said.

“When Wu was president of National Dong Hwa University, he raised his own salary to NT$5 million per year,” Chang said.

Wu also prevented two professors from being promoted because their opinions on school affairs differed from his, he said.

Because of these controversies, the federation about three years ago held three news conferences demanding that Wu resign as school president, Chang said.

“Since Wu became minister, we discovered that his problems are worse than we thought,” he said.

Wu is apparently a shareholder of the US company Spiranthes Biotech and has used the university’s patented technology for a Taiwanese company by the same name, owned by his wife, Chang said.

Wu claimed he did not use the university’s patented technology, but the school made it clear that he did so without its consent, Chang said.

However, thousands of elementary and junior-high school teachers have been punished for serving as nominal independent directors at companies, he said.

“The government should apologize for having appointed Wu as minister and having caused so many problems, and Wu should immediately step down,” he said.

The group has asked its members and supporters to change their Facebook profile photographs to the statement “I refuse to accept Wu as the minister of education,” he said.

Teachers should not only have knowledge that they can teach students, but also strive to be moral examples, Taoyuan Federation of Teachers’ Unions president Chang Chiung-fang (張瓊方) said.

The same applies to school principals and to ministers of education, she said.

Wu’s questionable behavior and words have made it difficult for them to teach children about the importance of integrity, she said.

Wu yesterday said he hopes to communicate with the federations face-to-face.

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