Fri, Sep 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Union bemoans teachers’ pay

WORKLOAD INCREASES:The Union of Private School Educators’ Chen Chih-wen said that many private high schools have increased teaching hours, but not salaries

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Union of Private School Educators secretary-general Chen Chih-wen, left, speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, as Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien, second left, and union president Yu Jung-hui, third left, look on.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The Union of Private School Educators and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) yesterday called for more regulations on private high schools, which they said typically overwork teachers to cut cost.

Many private high schools — regular and vocational alike — have cut teachers’ salaries and bonuses, and increased their workload in recent years due to low enrollments amid a declining birthrate, union president Yu Jung-hui (尤榮輝) told a news conference in Taipei.

A survey conducted by the union among its members found that private high-school teachers commonly work more than eight hours a day with no lunch break, union secretary-general Chen Chih-wen (陳綺雯) said.

In addition to teaching, private high-school teachers are often required to assist with administrative work, take part in student recruitment plans, direct traffic before and after school, visit parents and host weekly or monthly class meetings, Chen said, adding that much of the non-teaching and non-administrative work is unpaid.

While overwork is common among teachers at private schools, many have also seen their salaries reduced significantly, she said.

As an example, some teachers had their research allowance reduced from NT$38,000 to NT$3,800, she said.

Moreover, many private high schools have increased required teaching hours from the standard 16 sessions a week — one session being 50 minutes — to 20 or 23, she said.

“Considering the standard wage at a public high school is NT$400 per session, a teacher at a private school should have been paid at least NT$10,000 more a month for 23 sessions per week,” Chen said.

With the additional sessions come not only more hours, but also more exam papers to mark and more students to care for, she said.

“High-school education is part of the compulsory education system and students have a right to a good education, regardless of whether they go to a public or private school,” Yu said.

The Ministry of Education should set a weekly limit on the number of sessions allowed at private high schools, as it did with public high schools, to ensure the quality of education, Yu said.

“Private schools are profit-driven and should not be given complete liberty on the matter,” Lin said. “Teachers are calling for more regulations not because they want more perks, but because they are concerned about the quality of education.”

Regulations stipulate that private high schools seeking to increase teaching hours above the standard 16 sessions per week must gain approval from their councils at a school meeting, K12 Education Administration official Han Chun-shu (韓春樹) said.

The same procedure is required to cut teachers’ salaries, Han said, adding that his office is open to suggestions and would investigate the matter.

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