The Executive Yuan yesterday passed a draft act to govern the closure of private schools, in a bid to address low enrollment caused by Taiwan’s low birthrate.
The act — which would apply to all private senior-high schools and universities that are struggling to survive due to low enrollment — would authorize the Ministry of Education to set up a fund to help them gradually cease operations; subsidize students’ education, accommodation and transportation expenses; and pay the salaries and insurance of faculty.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told the weekly Cabinet meeting that the government expects some of these private educational institutions to encounter financial problems within 10 years, but that the act would ensure that their closures are smooth transitions.
Photo: Lin Hsiao-yun, Taipei Times
The act would also protect students in schools that are closing, he said.
Under the act, two categories of private schools would come under the ministry’s close scrutiny.
The first category is composed of schools “placed under alert” due to the schools having mild funding problems.
The second are schools that have severe funding problems — placing them beyond repair and requiring the ministry to give them special guidance.
The draft states that the ministry would establish the standards that determine whether an educational institution should be placed in the first or second category.
Schools in the second category would be announced to the public.
The draft states that if the institutions in the second category improve their financial situation within three years, they could be removed from the ministry’s watch list.
It states that if their finances fail to improve in three years, the ministry could order them to stop enrolling students.
Such schools should stop operations at the end of a school year.
Institutions in the second category to get its approval before finalizing procurement contracts of NT$1 million (US$34,701) or more, the ministry said.
Three faculty or staff members would be appointed to the school board to check whether the administration is truly working toward improving the institution’s financial situation, the ministry said.
The school board must be reformed after an institution stops enrolling new students, the ministry said, adding that the board would need to be composed of impartial third-party members who are assigned by the ministry so that they can assist with preparations for the closure of the institution.
The act would not require private schools to maintain a student body of 3,000 and would change the sunset clause, increasing the funding leading to closure, the ministry said.
More than 30 high schools and more than 10 universities have been placed on the first category list, Department of Technological and Vocational Education Director Yang Yu-hui (楊玉惠) said.
After the draft bill is passed by the Legislative Yuan, the ministry would release a list of schools that needs help for operation, she added.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: President Tsai spoke at a service at Chihhang Air Base to honor captain Chu Kuan-meng, who died after ejecting from his F-5E on Oct. 29 An air force F-16 jet went missing off the east coast of Taiwan last night, and search and recovery operations were ongoing as of press time, the Ministry of National Defense said. The F-16 disappeared from radar screens at 6:07pm 9 nautical miles (17km) northeast of Hualien Air Base, two minutes after taking off from the base as part of a nighttime training exercise, the ministry said. The F-16, serial number 6672, was piloted by Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志), it said. A National Rescue Command Center statement said that a Black Hawk helicopter and Coast Guard Administration vessels had been
SUPPORT: Reporters Without Borders said that it stands behind the legitimacy of the commission’s probe and that press freedom does not mean the absence of oversight National Communications Commission (NCC) commissioners yesterday reached a unanimous decision to reject CTi News’ (中天新聞台) license renewal application on the grounds that the channel’s frequent contraventions of media regulations showed that it has a malfunctioning internal control mechanism that cannot be rectified. This was the first time since it was established in 2006 that the commission denied a license renewal to a news channel. NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) announced the landmark decision at the commission’s weekly media briefing. The commission denied the renewal request because the news channel was fined a total of NT$11.53 million (US$400,932) for 25 breaches of media regulations
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
An investigation has found no mechanical problems underlying the Tuesday disappearance of an F-16 jet and its pilot, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday, adding that it does not rule out an accident due to “spatial disorientation.” An air force F-16 jet on Tuesday evening disappeared from radar screens, just two minutes after it took off from Hualien Air Base, while the 44-year-old pilot, Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志), has yet to be found. Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) yesterday morning headed to Hualien for updates on the search and rescue, while giving a pep talk to Chiang’s unit,