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April 24, 2017

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Legislative Yuan passes Environmental Education Act

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed the Environmental Education Act as law, ushering in a new era of mandatory environmental education for Taiwanese schools, businesses and organizations.

The law will be implemented within a year of the presidential proclamation. A large portion of the population, from kindergarten students to President Ma Ying-jeou himself, will be subjected to educational courses on the environment.

Once enacted, the Environmental Education Act will require students and staff of the nation's schools, government bodies, businesses and organizations to attend at least four hours per year of government-funded curriculum on environmental education.

According to Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Chiu Wen-yen, the main purpose of the act is to incorporate environmental issues into the lifelong learning of the public.

The Environmental Education Act can equip the public with the proper knowledge, attitude, values and related skills regarding their surroundings, he added.

After 17 years of drafts and reviews, the Environmental Education Act has passed the three readings of the Legislative Yuan and became law as of yesterday morning.

Taiwan now joins the ranks of the United States, Japan, South Korea and Brazil in their efforts to preserve the relationship between the Earth and her inhabitants by establishing environmental education as law, said EPA Minister Stephen Shen.

President Ma and all top government officials will be subjected to the education, said Shen, adding that the most urgent and relevant environmental issues should be taught first.

For example, if climate change happens to be the most pressing issue of the day, Shen believed that courses which help elucidate the public on the matter should take precedence.

Shen said the law will be in effect within the year Ma makes the official proclamation, the projected implementation of which will be next year at the earliest.

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