Taiwan Education Minister did not consult with Tsai admin on approval of NTU president

Monday's announcement from Yeh Jiunn-rong surprised many in the government who were not notified of the Minister's decision

Minister of Edu. Yeh Jiunn-rong approved of Kuan Chung-ming as NTU Pres., Dec. 24

Minister of Edu. Yeh Jiunn-rong approved of Kuan Chung-ming as NTU Pres., Dec. 24 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Dec. 24, Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) announced the ministry’s approval for Kuan Chung-ming's (管中閔) appointment as president of National Taiwan University (NTU).

It has since been revealed that Yeh did not notify Executive Yuan officials of his decision beforehand, causing surprise and consternation within the Tsai administration.

In mid-December, Yeh reiterated that he was planning to resolve the controversial appointment process, which had reached a stalemate after the university selected Kuan for the position but the previous two Ministers of Education refused to approve him.

Instead the ministry asked NTU to repeat its selection process from the beginning, which many saw as a declaration by the Tsai administration that Kuan was an unsuitable candidate for the position.

Hence, it came as a surprise to many, including President Tsai and Premier William Lai, that Yeh made the unilateral decision on Monday to resolve the stalemate by approving Kuan as NTU president.

In the wake of Yeh’s Monday press conference, William Lai went to visit the President’s office on Dec. 25 to discuss the decision of Yeh to approve Kuan as NTU President.

A statement from the President’s office said that the Executive Yuan was unprepared for Yeh’s approval of Kuan, and that DPP legislators also had no prior notice of the announcement.

“As a member of a team, relevant decisions should be fully communicated and discussed…The handling of the situation yesterday needs to be reviewed” said an Executive Yuan spokesperson on Tuesday morning.

Premier Lai is expected to meet with the Minister of Education today (Dec. 25) to discuss the matter. The President has reportedly asked the Executive Yuan to look into the situation.

Following Monday’s approval of Kuan, Yeh stated that he made the decision which best served all parties. He emphasized that he has acted in accordance with the powers and responsibilities of the office of Minister of Education.

He said that it is best to leave this controversy in 2018, and that the resolution of the debacle will allow NTU to flourish and begin focusing once again on academics and on cultivating new talent in the years ahead, reports LTN.

Yeh said that he was in full communication with all the relevant parties, insisting that many people had differing opinions on the matter, which was his responsibility to settle.

Updated : 2021-04-14 21:36 GMT+08:00