Sat, Jun 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Most disapprove of NTU election handling: survey

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A majority of people believe the Ministry of Education’s refusal to confirm Kuan Chung-ming’s (管中閔) election as National Taiwan University (NTU) president has tarnished the government’s image and could prompt an exodus of higher education talent, a poll released yesterday by the Grassroots Influence Foundation found.

Kuan was on Jan. 5 elected NTU president and was scheduled to take office on Feb. 1. However, the ministry put off approval of his appointment amid allegations of plagiarism, a conflict of interest and a flawed selection process.

The controversy led to the resignation of former minister of education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠).

After Pan’s successor, Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆), took office on April 19, the ministry on April 27 rejected Kuan’s election on the grounds that the election process was flawed, and asked NTU to hold a new election.

Wu resigned on Tuesday.

Of the survey’s respondents, 43.2 percent said they disagreed with the ministry using Kuan’s status as an independent director of Taiwan Mobile to reject his election, while 13 percent agreed.

A total of 52.2 percent said the ministry’s handling of the issue has “seriously” undermined university autonomy, while 8 percent disagreed.

The incident could lead to an exodus of higher education talent, 49.8 percent of respondents said, while 13.9 percent said they were not convinced that such a scenario would occur.

A total of 41.4 percent said the ministry’s directive that all universities disclose whether any of their faculty have illegally taught in China has encroached on academic freedom, while 10.1 percent said it has not.

A total of 64.4 percent of respondents said the Kuan incident has “seriously” tarnished the government’s image, compared with 5.7 percent who said it has not.

Those who said that NTU’s image has been hurt by the incident accounted for 47.6 percent of those surveyed, while 13.3 percent who said it has not.

Overall, 47.3 percent of respondents disagreed with the ministry’s decision to reject Kuan’s election, while 10.3 percent agreed.

The poll collected 1,100 valid samples and has a margin of error of 2.95 percentage points.

The incident highlights that NTU’s electoral system is flawed, NTU College of Public Health adjunct professor King Chwan-chuen (金傳春) said at the news conference to share the survey’s results.

As the incident has caused two education ministers to resign, the government would have a hard time finding a new education minister until everything is settled, Taiwan Competitiveness Forum chief executive officer Hsieh Ming-hui (謝明輝) said.

The government should give Acting Minister of Education Yao-Leeh-ter (姚立德) the authority to confirm Kuan’s appontment, Hsieh said, adding that it could otherwise result in “double trouble” — the absence of both an NTU president and an education minister.

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