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Education minister denies targeting smokers

Education minister denies targeting smokers

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Education Minister Wu Ching-ji denied Monday that his ministry has instructed that smokers be barred from serving as school principals. Fielding questions at the legislative Education and Culture Committee, Wu said the Ministry of Education (MOE) has not formed a regulation to prohibit smokers from becoming school principals or superintendents. "Smoking is a personal choice. The MOE has not instructed that smokers be barred from serving as school principals or that principals should quit smoking," Wu noted. He added that it is acceptable for teachers to smoke, as long as they do not smoke in the school environs. He made the remarks in response to questions raised by ruling Kuomintang Legislator Kuo Su-chun and opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling concerning the veracity of a United Daily News report on the issue. According to the daily, the MOE issued notifications to local governments' education offices in May suggesting that potential candidates for the position of high school superintendent or elementary school and junior high school principal should be asked whether they are smokers. Criticizing the MOE, the National Alliance of Parents Organizations (NAPO) said the education ministry was "too bossy." NAPO Secretary-General Wu Chung-tai said smoking is not a crime, but a personal choice. "Nobody can prove that smokers make poor teachers or principals," the activist argued. (By Ho Meng-kuei, Lin Szu-yu, Hsu Chih-wei and Deborah Kuo)


Updated : 2021-07-27 01:08 GMT+08:00