The Taipei Department of Education is considering introducing “safety instructors” at high schools to replace military instructors, who arrange target practice classes and teach military education courses.
One-third of Taipei’s 67 high schools and vocational high schools have reportedly had to cancel target practice due to a lack of military instructors to oversee the classes.
Military instructors are soldiers assigned to high schools, colleges and universities by the Ministry of National Defense to teach basic military skills and protect students.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
The Executive Yuan in January announced that military instructors would be withdrawn from schools starting in 2023.
Schools said that with the departure of military instructors, target practice would be put on indefinite hold until people with military experience would become available to oversee classes.
During a meeting with the department earlier this week, school officials told the municipality that the “safety instructors” could not take over all military education classes, as they lack professional experience.
All military instructors are retired military personnel.
The safety instructors would only be able to oversee simplified classes and assist with counseling, schools said.
The average teacher is unfamiliar with the procedures of target practice, one school official said, adding that it was inevitable that the classes would be canceled.
Target practice is risky and classes are usually held after contacting military units in the area, the education department’s Military Education Office said.
It is a demanding job, as military instructors oversee entire classes of students, teach them individually and perform maintenance, the office said.
Last academic year, 23 high schools in Taipei canceled target practice and more have followed suit, office director Tsao Shou-chuan (曹守全) said.
The main reason is a fall in the number of military instructors, Tsao added.
Parents said they supported keeping target practice on the curriculum, as shooting sessions and military education classes could reduce mandatory service time and also offer girls a rare opportunity to handle firearms.
Men born after 1994 are eligible for a 15-day deduction to service time, Taipei Department of Compulsory Military Service Deputy Director Tu Ying-hui (杜英輝) said, but added that military education has become elective rather than compulsory.
The education department said that schools would decide whether to teach target practice, but they should consult parents before arriving deciding.
Practice sessions provide a memorable experience and schools should consider keeping them, even though they could take time to organize due to limited national defense resources, the compulsory service department said.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”