Gov't to preempt school closure profiteering
By Joy Lee ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) said yesterday that all school-related resources and fees would go to legal personalities instead of individuals after private schools are closed down to preempt profiteering.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The Ministry of the Interior recently proposed a policy to permit private school boards that sell their land for business use to recoup 60 to 80 percent of the commercial property value.
The National Federation of Teachers Union (NFTU) criticized the policy, saying that it would encourage profiteering.
Chiang said that the Ministry of Education (MOE) would repurpose some private schools or help them close down, but all remaining funds and school lands would go toward legal personalities instead of individuals.
“The MOE will make sure that no individual profiteers from the program,” said Chiang.
“The MOI was only trying to help the MOE take care of private schools with low enrollment,” Chiang said. “But the policy is still under discussion.”
Chiang said that the MOE's priority would be to protect students' rights to study and teachers' rights to work while preventing individuals from profiteering.
“The MOE will help introduce teaching staff to new jobs and help students transfer to (other) schools (in the event of a school closure),” said Chiang.
MOE Deputy Minister Chen Der-hwa (陳德華) also said that private schools would become legal personalities after being closed down, and profits made from land re-zoning will be used to compensate teachers.
“The MOE, the MOI, and the Ministry of Finance will hold a meeting to talk about how to deal with the re-zoning issue, after private schools are closed down or repurposed,” Chen said.
Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said that his ministry came up with the proposal as a way to promote university and high school downsizing, but it will be up to the MOE to make the final decision.
“It is true that private schools will be benefit from closures,” Lee said. “But those benefits will be used to compensate teachers and help students transfer to (other) schools.”
NFTU Vice President Wu Chung-tai (吳忠泰) said that the MOI and the MOE were not on the same boat with regard to how school closures should be dealt with, and that the policy will eventually benefit school owners.
Wu said that the MOE insists on not giving away school lands to private school boards, but the MOI proposed a policy that runs counter to that insistence.
“Once re-zoning proposals are submitted to the Land Planning Commission after school closures, the MOE will not be able to ... ensure that school boards do not benefit from closures,” Wu said.