January 22, 2021

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Taiwan: Education union highlights unequal conditions as it campaigns for quality education

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The Taiwanese government is widening the social gap and encouraging the privatisation of the early childhood education (ECE) sector. That’s according to the National Teachers’ Association (NTA) in its yearly summary.

Public authorities support English as a second language (ESL) in Taiwan, according to the NTA’s 2030 Bilingual Policy. It said the Ministry of Education is expanding ESL education to ECE in a non-compulsory way, allowing private ECE institutions to provide expensive bilingual courses on specific-subjects, on a half-day, or even whole-day basis. The NTA points out that this creates huge profits for for-profit ECE institutions and educators.

The NTA has reaffirmed its commitment to public education at all levels and considers ESL education in ECE to be a government move to covertly privatise education. It also highlighted the need to have qualified English and Mandarin teachers and to secure the necessary time and resources for children to learn and play, rather than merely memorise foreign vocabularies.

Higher education: Advocating for decent working and living conditions

Atypical teachers in the higher education sector, namely contract teachers, part-time teachers, as well as adjunct professors, have become a common feature, the NTA argued in its magazine.

Close to 90 per cent of staff in private schools and 20 per cent in public schools are employed under unfair labour conditions coupled with a lack of legal protection, the union stressed. 

This has led to a loss of highly educated teachers and researchers, which has made a career in higher education unattractive, said the union. It added that this undermines the working conditions of the education profession as a whole. It stands with teachers in higher education, defending the decent working conditions they deserve and providing them with the necessary assistance in terms of organising and preparing industrial action.

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