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Taiwan bars smokers from top school jobs

(People's Daily Overseas Edition)

14:51, November 11, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.11 (People's Daily Online) -- Taiwanese media recently revealed that its "Ministry of Education" sent letters to its county-level education departments in May 2011, requiring that all headmasters of primary and middle schools should be nonsmokers. The strange information soon led to laughter and much discussion.

Teacher-student romance forbidden as well

Hualien County took the lead in responding to the guideline, and while selecting headmasters of primary and middle schools, the county added, "anybody who smokes and cannot quit cannot be a candidate for headmaster of a primary or middle school."

The undersecretary of the "Ministry of Education" Wu Tsai-shun explained that currently, smoking has been banned in all senior high schools and below in Taiwan, and if the headmaster of a school smokes, it will be harder to persuade the students of the school not to smoke.

"Some parents warmly support the new rule, but heads of some labor unions believe that the new rule is legally groundless and is 100 percent illegal," Wu said.

Another controversial topic is romantic teacher-student relationships. A new rule established by the "Ministry of Education" has been interpreted as banning relations between teachers and students. The rule is aimed at preventing sexual assaults.

Regarding this rule, the secretary-general of the teachers association of Taiwan Wu Chung-tai said people should not regard all teachers as predators. Wu said some students grow affectionate of and respect their teachers, which they believe to be love but actually is not.

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