NGOs push for fewer teachers in ‘underperforming’ teacher reviews

Taipei,  Nongovernmental children’s education groups have called for the Ministry of Education (MOE) to put more parents and experts and fewer teachers on planned review committees that will decide the fate of teachers considered to be underperforming.

The Legislative Yuan passed amendments to the Teachers’ Act in May 2019 that stipulate the establishment of review committees to determine if elementary and secondary school teachers are unable to fulfill their teaching duties or competently perform their work.

Regulations on the composition and workings of the professional review committee are expected to be implemented by the end of June and have been open to public comments since April 7.

The MOE has proposed that these committees will have 11 to 19 members, with at least half of them representatives appointed by national or local teacher associations.

At a press conference in Taipei on Wednesday, representatives of the Humanistic Education Foundation argued that the ratio of teachers was too high because they may cover up for the teachers they are reviewing, in effect negating the purpose of the review.

Such cover-ups would infringe on the basic human rights of students to receive a proper education, they argued.

Of the roughly 250,000 teachers in the profession, only about 13 teachers are expelled annually, which reflects the difficulty of removing underperforming teachers, the foundation representatives contended.

They called for lowering the ratio of teachers on the planned committees to one-third of the total members and add more parents and experts to make the reviews fairer.

In response, the MOE said the proposed regulations on the committee’s composition require at least half of its members to be teachers based on Article 9 of the Teachers’ Act.

The only exceptions are cases where a teacher has committed a crime, sexually assaulted a student, bullied or inflicted corporal punishment resulting in a severe injury to a student, or committed other serious offenses

The MOE said the amendments are still in the public notification stage and that people can submit comments or suggestions until May 7 as a reference for possible revision.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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