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Taiwan's Minister of Education resigns over NTU president appointment controversy

Premier William Lai officially and publicly accepted the resignation of Pan Wen-chung in a statement Saturday morning, April 14

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Former Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung

Former Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A spokesperson for the Executive Yuan announced on Saturday, April 14, that Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) had stepped down from his office, and that Premier William Lai had accepted his resignation letter.

In the official statement from Pan, he expressed a hope that his resignation would serve as an opportunity for the ministry and the government to properly consider the issues surrounding the appointment of the National Taiwan University (NTU) President, Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), who has been the target of much criticism.

In the morning Premier Lai made a statement, reported by CNA, that Pan had discussed his resignation with the Premier on April 12 in a meeting at the Executive Yuan, where he expressed his concerns regarding Kuan’s appointment.

Lai reportedly said that he respects Pan’s decision, based as it was on principle, and also stressed that he hopes that matters regarding Kuan, NTU’s prospective president, can be clarified and put to rest.

Lai also expressed his regret that the appointment of the NTU president has become such a controversial matter, but also emphasized that the lofty position commands a great deal of respect from people in the country.

Lastly, Lai expressed his gratitude for the contributions that Pan has made as an educator in Taiwan, and to improving education as a government official. Speaking before reporters in Hualien, the Premier said he admires the work of Pan and recognizes the good intentions behind his resignation, while hoping the public would do the same.

Currently, the controversy concerning the appointment of Kuan to the office of NTU president is still ongoing. Last month, the NTU affairs council held a meeting, where they voted not to pursue any investigation of the alleged charges concerning Kuan’s employment in China.

The University chose to allow the matter to proceed to the Ministry of Education, which will determine whether or not Kuan’s confirmation to the office will be made final or if it will be rejected.