MOE may set free education threshold
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Education (MOE) has discussed setting a threshold for subsidizing high and vocational school students' tuition fees under the planned 12-year compulsory and free education system, local reports said yesterday.
January 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Deputy Education Minister Chen Yi-hsing (陳益興) said that the MOE is still working on launching the system. However, the ministry has also taken note of appeals to set a threshold on the funding of tuition fees, Chen said.
According to information on the MOE's website, the current policy of subsidizing tuition fees will cost the government NT$8.7 billion in the next academic year for vocational students from families with annual household income of less than NT$1.14 million.
If the MOE does not set a threshold regarding household income levels on funding tuition for both high school and vocational school students, according to local reports, the MOE will pay NT$20 billion in the 103 academic year, which would severely affect the MOE's budget.
Former Education Minister Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) said that it is necessary to find a balance between the ministry's limited budget and providing subsidies for tuition and educational materials.
President Ma Ying-jeou officially announced in his New Year's Day address that 12-year compulsory education will be launched and focus on a “free education” and on being mostly examination free.
Teachers, Parents Back Threshold
Chairman of the National Alliance of Parents Organization Hsieh Kuo-ching (謝國清) said that parents support setting a threshold on funding tuition fees in order to use limited funds effectively.
Hsieh said that over 80 percent of the budget for the 12-year compulsory education system will be spent on making it free if the MOE does not set up a threshold. This could affect the execution of the whole education system.
If it is impossible to increase the MOE's budget by NT$20 billion, Hsieh said, the MOE should adjust its free education policy in exchange for more money to spend on other education policies