UNHEALTHY:Su Yo-cheng said that there could be risks for 65-year-old teachers who would have to demonstrate how to jump rope or deal with rebellious teenagers
By Sean Lin / Staff reporter
Members of the National Federation of Education Unions stage a protest outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei yesterday.
The National Federation of Education Unions yesterday rallied outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei to protest a proposal by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋) to push back the legal retirement age for teachers to 65.
Wang, who is a member of the Presidential Office’s National Pension Reform Committee, made the proposal last week.
Minister Without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億), deputy convener and executive director of the committee, said that having teachers retire later is a global trend and that he would take the proposal to the committee for discussion.
The Statute Governing the Retirement of School Faculty and Staff (學校教職員退休條例) stipulates that public-school teachers may retire after working for 25 years or when they are 60 years old and have worked for at least five years.
The federation said that teaching is different from other occupations because teachers often have to help students with their studies and contact parents on weekends.
With the supply of teachers already outstripping demand, schools rarely have openings for teaching positions, the federation said, adding that Wang’s proposal would add to the problem and is detrimental to young and inexperienced teachers looking for employment.
A majority of parents said they prefer teachers younger than 55, the federation said.
Taiwan Early Childhood Education Association president Su Yo-cheng (蘇祐晟) said he became a parent at a relatively late stage in his life and that he often finds parenthood tiring.
He raised doubts about whether older teachers would have the mental and physical energy needed to take care of classes.
“I cannot stand that kindergarten teachers are just like grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren,” Su said.
He also took issue with calls to push back the retirement for elementary and junior-high school teachers, saying there could be potential health risks for 65-year-old teachers having to demonstrate how to jump rope to students or dealing with rebellious teenagers.
The protesters urged the government not to make a reckless decision at the expense of teachers, students and parents.
The ministry said the average retirement age of elementary and junior-high school teachers is 53, while that of university professors is 60, adding that the decision on whether the retirement age will be prolonged is to be made in accordance with the committee’s decision.
When reached for comment yesterday, Wang said: “Do teachers give an impression that they are particularly more hard-working than others? I believe that society would have its own judgement.”