Schools in remote areas could share teaching personnel

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Feb 10, 2009 - Page 3

To address the lack of teachers at 948 schools in some of the nation’s more remote areas, the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday proposed allowing remote schools to share teaching staff.

Department of Elementary Education Director-General Yang Chang-yu (楊昌裕) told reporters in Hsinchu that schools in remote areas could cooperate with one or two neighboring schools and apply to jointly hire and share the professional teaching staff they need.

Local governments could also organize “mobile teaching groups” and arrange “teaching tours” to schools in remote areas, Yang said.

The ministry would then grant transportation stipends to these teachers, he said.

Citing research conducted in 2007 by Sharon Chen (甄曉蘭), a professor at the Department of Education of National Taiwan Normal University, Yang said about 35 percent of the teachers at the nation’s 209 remote junior high schools were forced to teach at least one subject in which they were not trained.

About 22 percent of the teachers were forced to teach two subjects unrelated to their professional training, Yang said.

Only about 33 percent of the teachers did not have to teach subjects beyond their expertise, Yang said.

“We plan to negotiate the proposal with local governments in April or May,” Yang said, adding that the ministry hoped to implement the policy in the 2009 academic year.

If everything goes well, there will be an additional 3,400 teacher openings at the nation’s remote schools, he said, adding that applicants with a bachelor’s degree would receive a minimum monthly salary of NT$38,000.

The plan is expected to cost the government NT$2 billion in budget annually, he said.

“But we are still concerned how many schools would be interested in adopting our proposal,” he said.