School downsizing may lead to profiteering in Taiwan

School downsizing may lead to profiteering in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The National Federation of Teachers Union (NFTU) yesterday said that the Ministry of Interior's (MOI) policy of re-zoning private school land for commercial use could encourage profiteering by private schools.

In an effort to reduce the number of universities and secondary schools amidst a shrinking student population, the MOI has decided to permit private schools boards that sell their land for business use to recoup about 60 to 80 per cent of the commercial property value, far higher than the price paid for land zoned for educational use.

The NFTU yesterday held a press conference to indicate their opposition to the MOI's use of this policy to actively encourage the closure of private schools.

Liu Chin-hsu, the chairman of the NFTU, said that many board members of private schools were sold property at a cut-rate because of their personal connections.

"If the school boards can take 60 per cent to 80 per cent of their property value back," Liu said, "it will be tantamount to profiteering by private school owners."

According to the NFTU, one 1,500-ping private school located near an MRT station is worth NT$5.3 billion at current market prices.

"The MOI's policy could become another way to deliver unlawful benefits to some companies," said Liu.

The NFTU's Secretary-General Chen Cheng-liang said that proposals by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to promote the closure of private schools could encourage these schools to stagnate under the expectation of a big payday at closure.

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