Teachers’ unions yesterday marched in protest of proposed amendments to the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (幼兒教育及照顧法), calling on the Ministry of Education to promote public preschools rather than carve out legal exceptions favoring private for-profit schools.
Led by the National Federation of Teachers Union, more than 8,000 protesters sang children’s songs and beat together yellow clappers as they marched up Taipei’s Zhongshan S Road to the Ministry of Education building to present their demands.
National Federation of Teachers’ Unions president Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政) said proposed amendments to the law would aid for-profit preschools by making it easier for them to acquire funds from tuition vouchers and use public land, while easing licensing requirements for preschool instructors.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
The union’s early childhood education committee vice-chair, Yan Chia-chen (顏嘉辰), said the proposed amendments would extend temporary provisions applying to private preschool teachers (教保員) who were hired before 2012, allowing them to continue to teach indefinitely while avoiding licensing requirements.
Given the substantial salary gap between licensed and unlicensed teachers, the amendment would ensure that for-profit schools would not hire licensed teachers for years to come, Yan said, adding that the amendment would allow for-profit schools to receive tuition voucher funds even if they fail to pass government evaluations.
Given the huge quality disparity among for-profit schools, promoting public preschools was the only way to guarantee preschool education was available to all families, he said.
Protesters also criticized poor working conditions in for-profit preschools, calling for more rigorous inspections.
Licensed public preschool teacher Chung Cheng-ming (鐘乘洺) said during the two years he had worked in a for-profit preschool before receiving his license, he had been forced to work 13 hours per day and some weekend hours without any overtime pay.
Poor labor conditions are the main reason most teachers want to work in the public sector, he said.
In response to the protesters’ demands, Ministry of Education section chief Hsu Li-juan (許麗娟) said that the ministry’s proposal was a compromise between the demands of teachers and for-profit preschools, adding that unlicensed instructors would be allowed to continue to teach only after they had finished 16 credits of coursework.
While the ministry’s objective is to encourage the establishment of public preschools, this is the prerogative of municipalities and counties, Hsu said.
That privately operated establishments operate year-round without summer and winter breaks sometimes makes them more convenient for parents, she added.
Ministry of Education statistics show that for-profit establishments make up 70 percent of the nation’s preschools.
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
ANTI-COERCION: EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU wishes to bolster relations with Taiwan within the framework of its ‘one China’ policy The EU is to further its engagement with Taiwan to defend democracy, freedom and an open market, while bolstering cooperation in semiconductor supply chains, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In her remarks at a European Parliament plenary session focused on Taiwan-EU relations, Vestager referred to China’s increasing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, including flying missions off the southwest coast of Taiwan. “This display of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the EU encourages all parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might increase tensions across the Strait. “We Europeans
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) yesterday debuted three electric vehicle (EV) prototypes to great fanfare at its Tech Day event at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. The prototypes of sports utility vehicle Model C, luxury sedan Model E and electric bus Model T were developed by Foxtron Vehicles Technologies Co (鴻華先進), a joint venture between Hon Hai and Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車). The Model C and Model E are to be initially sold under the Yulon-affiliated Luxgen Motor Co (納智捷汽車) and China Motor Corp (中華汽車) brands when they hit the market, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said. The company expects
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long