Thu, Nov 22, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2018 ELECTIONS: Candidates scored on youth policies

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Only 20 of the 93 candidates running for mayors or county commissioners in Saturday’s elections responded to its questionnaire about policies for children and teenagers, the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare said yesterday, and only six received satisfactory scores.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) New Taipei City mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) scored the highest, it said.

The other five were the DPP’s Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智), Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Taoyuan mayoral candidate Apollo Chen (陳學聖) and Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌).

Candidates were evaluated in eight categories, based on their answers to the alliance’s questionnaires as well as their platforms: establishing a government department responsible for youth affairs, handling teachers’ misconduct with pupils, promoting gender equality education, planning spaces for cultural and recreational activities, protecting young people in workplaces and offering career consultations and assistance, the alliance said.

Candidates were given a score from zero to two in each category, based on whether they had plans to address the issue and how concrete their plans were, it said.

A satisfactory score was eight points or more, it said.

All 20 who responded to the questionnaires said they would ensure that teachers involved in cases of misconduct would leave schools, but most proposed establishing a committee under local governments to review and judge each case, Humanistic Education Foundation executive director Joanna Feng (馮喬蘭) said.

“That would still be problematic as it would require the school — not the parents or students — to be critical of its own teachers and report the case to the government,” she said.

The Teachers’ Act (教師法) should be amended to introduce other ways of reviewing teachers’ conduct, she said, as she urged the candidates to say if they would support such a proposal.

Certain candidates proposed offering education programs for teachers who had conduct problems and offering them a second chance, but Feng said this could expose children to more risk.

“Usually those programs just place a camera in the classroom, and seeing a camera would lead a teacher to stop abusing kids, but in places where there are no cameras the abuse continues,” she said.

The government should establish clear boundaries for when and what kind of misconduct would permanently disqualify a teacher from employment by schools, she said.

A survey by the alliance found that 70 percent of children said they have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and personal gender attributes, Garden of Hope Foundation executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said.

“Without significant improvement in promoting gender equality, many children will suffer. Their teenage years will not be happy,” Chi said.

Candidates who are elected mayor or county commissioner should not only have concrete plans to promote gender equality, but also be able to “be tough” when conservative groups push back, she added.

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