Wed, May 15, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Internships are not manual labor: MOE

REVIEW CRUCIAL:A school that matches up a student with an employer must ensure the student’s rights and safety are protected, and the pay meets a basic minimum

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has instructed schools to separate internships from part-time work, due to concern that students are being pushed into performing manual labor, a ministry official said on Monday.

The move came in the wake of a series of scandals last year and this year in which Yu Da University of Science and Technology, the University of Kang Ning and Hsing Wu University were accused of collaborating with personnel agencies to trick Southeast Asian students into performing illegal work unrelated to the internship they signed up for.

Many schools combine internship agreements and part-time job contracts, but internships and part-time work are different concepts, ministry Director of Technological and Vocational Eduction Yang Yu-hui (楊玉惠) said.

While internships are often part of coursework that a student needs to complete to graduate, part-time work is a personal choice that the student should accept only if they are willing, she said.

Students can make arrangements for part-time work with their employer, Yang said.

When a school introduces an employer to a student, any work agreement must be reviewed by the school to ensure that the student’s rights and safety are protected, and that the salary meets a basic minimum, she said.

Internships entail a different process, Yang said, adding that the school and the host organization must agree on them.

Many schools combined internships and part-time work in the same contract or agreement, forcing the student to take on clerical or manual labor, Yang said.

The ministry at the end of March sent notices to schools, instructing them to distinctly separate internships from part-time work, she said.

As the notices were sent after the start of the academic semester and many students had already signed paperwork, schools have until August to comply with the instructions, Yang said.

Meanwhile, the ministry is decreasing the number of credits required in the programs run as collaborations between industry and academia. The programs help students in the New Southbound Talent Development Program learn professional skills, and provides them with technical and vocational classes.

Students enrolled in the programs can earn up to 36 credits upon completing an internship, but starting next year, half of the internship credits will be required, while the other half will be electives, giving the students more freedom to study what they want, Yang said.

The talent development program aims to cultivate talent, foster bilateral exchanges and improve mutual resource sharing for students from countries that are the focus of the New Southbound Policy, the ministry said.

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