PROPOSED AMENDMENTS: People convicted of abuse, kidnap or sexual exploitation of minors would be fired and banned from teaching for life, the Cabinet said
By Sean Lin / Staff reporter
The Cabinet yesterday released draft amendments to the Teachers’ Act （教師法）, which includes a provision that would dismiss unfit teachers and ban them from teaching for life.
The planned amendments define punishments for teachers based on the severity of breaches, which in the most extreme cases would result in dismissal and denial of future teaching positions.
Those convicted of treason, embezzlement, or sexual assault or harassment in a court or by the gender equality committee at their school would be permanently banned, according to the proposed changes.
Those convicted of mentally or physically abusing, kidnapping, or sexually exploiting minors, or committing other crimes defined by the Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act （兒童及少年福利與權益保障法） would be subject to the same punishment.
Those found to have served a prison sentence of at least two years prior to beginning work as a teacher, as well as those sentenced to at least one year in prison after being employed, are to be discharged and banned from teaching if they have not received probation, under the proposed amendments.
Those who have been relieved of their duties over breaches of the Public Functionary Discipline Act （公務員懲戒法）, as well as those found to have breached academic ethics would be fired and permanently banned from teaching.
Committees convened to review a teacher’s dismissal, suspension or termination of contract should comprise objective third parties so that teachers make up less than 50 percent of the committee to help ensure impartiality, the amendments say.
Should a committee fail to take timely action against a faculty member who should be fired, suspended or reassigned, the Ministry of Education or local education authorities are to demand that the committee proceed with an evaluation, the proposals state.
The nation’s 21 committees for the evaluation of teachers’ professionalism — whose functions have been limited to “giving advice” to elementary, junior-high and high schools handling personnel issues — should be made official entities, they state.
If passed by the legislature, the amendments would require all local governments to establish teacher evaluation committees, which would undertake investigations entrusted to them by local governments.
The evaluation committees should conduct impartial, fact-based investigations and publish abstracts of their probes after a case is closed, the amendments say.
Deputy Minister of Education Fan Sun-lu （范巽綠） said the Teachers’ Act has been amended 14 times since it was enacted 24 years ago, but none of the changes were aimed at improving regulations for dismissal, suspension or reassignment of unfit teachers.
The draft amendments were put forward after discussions that had lasted more than two years to answer calls from the public to take action against unfit teachers, Fan said.
Students attend a class at Lujiang Elementary School in New Taipei City on Jan. 30. Photo: Lin Hsiao-yun, Taipei Times