An increasing number of private universities are hiring teachers as independent contractors to evade labor and education laws and exploit them, the Taiwan Higher Education Union said yesterday.
While contract teachers have long been hired for short-term projects, many universities now use them to fill regular teaching positions — such as those of instructors and tenured professors — to reduce personnel costs, union officials told a news conference in Taipei.
Statistics provided by the union showed that from 2016 to last year, the number of contract teachers at 12 of the nation’s top private universities — known as the U12 Consortium — increased by 70, or 27 percent, while the number of teachers hired as regular employees dropped by 83.
Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times
Many U12 Consortium members this year increased their percentage of contract teachers, the union said.
Tamkang University, Chinese Culture University and Tatung University planned to recruit 38 contract teachers for this academic year and no regulars, union researcher Chen Po-chien (陳柏謙) said.
Tamkang has new regulations stipulating that it would only hire independent contractors as instructors and assistant professors, Chen said.
“Contract teachers are usually hired on a one-year contract — or shorter — and have to renew their contracts annually. They are not protected by the Teachers’ Act (教師法), since they are categorized as non-standard staff, nor by the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which does not apply to teachers,” he said.
“Schools can pressure them into doing anything, because there is no law to guarantee their work conditions and because they are afraid of losing their job,” he said.
Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages requires contract teachers to teach at least 12 hours per week, attend all of its seminars and school events, and do four hours of work at its teaching centers, Chen said.
The Ministry of Education should stipulate that the Teachers’ Act applies to independent contractors and offer concrete plans to help those whose rights have been infringed, he said.
“Protecting university teachers’ rights is a way to ensure academic freedom and students’ rights to education,” union organization department director Lin Po-yi (林柏儀) said.
When teachers’ rights are compromised, the quality of teaching and research also suffer, Lin said.
The increasing number of contract teachers is the result of the government’s “self-contradictory” policy, which ignores local academics’ needs while focusing on recruiting talent from abroad, he said.
“Taiwan has talent too. It is just that they are exploited and not given opportunities and resources. This must change, or we will never stop protesting,” he said.
As of press time last night the ministry had not responded to a request for comment.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
Scooter riders should regularly clean their helmets, especially in summer, to prevent dirt and sweat from accumulating and causing scalp problems, such as hair loss and permanent baldness, a dermatologist has warned. Poor hygiene practices by helmet wearers often lead to scalp problems, such as bacterial folliculitis, tinea capitis and seborrheic dermatitis, Lu Pei-hsuan (呂佩璇) at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital said on Aug 31. The first step to maintain good scalp care is proper hair washing, as shampoo residues can easily cause dandruff and itchy scalps, while improper scratching will cause inflammation, Lu said. The best way to wash your hair is to
INTIMIDATION: Chinese military maneuvers have mostly led to heightened support for Taiwan’s defense forces, while China appears poised to continue its campaign China’s incessant military activities in and near the Taiwan Strait over the past several months are “greater in meaning than in substance,” and are aimed at polarizing Taiwanese society, a researcher said in a report published on Friday. China has attempted to intimidate Taiwan through military threats, while at the same time calling on Taiwanese and US officials to practice restraint, which is aimed at causing a rift between those who prefer resistance against China and those who prefer peace, said Lee Kuan-cheng (李冠成), a researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research. “China’s goal is to obscure public awareness
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and