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RULER   :   Archive   :   1996   :   TW Schools Apr 1996


School CP - April 1996

Free China Journal, Taipei, 16 April 1996

Education officials endorse "temporary pain" punishment

Representatives of education agencies from the central and local levels agreed in principle to legalize limited corporal punishment in Taiwan classrooms.

The decision, which emerged from an April 7 meeting organized by the Ministry of Education, was strongly condemned by civil education groups. They fear that lifting the ban on corporal punishment will increase tensions on Taiwan campuses.

According to a proposed draft of the Disciplinary Guidelines for Teachers, the island's teachers are allowed to impose limited corporal punishment that causes "temporary pain" to students. One problem, however, is that a clear definition of temporary pain has not been ironed out.

Drawn up by the Education Ministry, the draft was formulated in accordance with the ROC Teacher's Law and has already been debated in a series of hearings held previously by the ministry. Once the proposed disciplinary practice is approved by the Executive Yuan, Taiwan elementary and high schools can implement temporary pain punishment if they choose to make it their school policy.

The ministry said the draft revisions will be submitted to the Executive Yuan for final approval after internal procedures are completed. Following that, corporal punishment could be implemented as early as next semester.

Under the proposal, teachers do not have a free hand in practising corporal punishment. They must have written consent from parents or guardians, the punishment must occur while a second teacher is present, and teachers must clearly explain to students why they are being punished.

Also, the draft emphasized that students cannot be punished for poor academic performance or demonstrating a lack of ability.

Moreover, teachers must report punishments beforehand and assess the effects afterwards. Students can appeal to school authorities if they deem the punishments unfair.


Civic groups condemned the lifting of the ban as "the most shameful policy made ever". Some critics of the decision accused education officials of succumbing to the demands of a minority of parents and teachers who favor the new policy because it would further their own interests.


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