The National Teachers’ Association (NTA) in Taiwan prioritised the needs of working parents in its advocacy to mark Taiwanese Teachers’ Day on 28 September.
The NTA highlighted the necessity for paid leave to allow working parents to participate in school activities.
“Working parents have the right to be present at teacher-parent meetings and other school activities where communication, interaction, and trust are built between teachers, parents, and students,” stated NTA President Chun-Liang Hou.
Parents should have no worries about losing payment or credits at work for joining school activities, he added.
At a press conference on 29 September, Hou was adamant that “parents should be respected and appreciated for exercising such rights and employers should support that”.
Teacher-parents collaboration crucial to students’ achievements
Parents are vital stakeholders and partners in Taiwan’s student-centred education system, according to Hou. The collaboration between teachers and parents is crucial to students’ academic, as well as social and emotional, learning.
NTA has stressed that, according to the Basic Act on Education and Compulsory Education in Taiwan, parents’ rights to participate in school and parent–teacher association (PTA) activities are based on the legal guardians’ responsibility to supervise children’s education and protect young citizens’ rights to education and related interests.
Hou denounced employers for not honouring those rights. “Most employers choose to ignore them or encourage parents to resort to other forms of work leave with or without pay. Employers can act like this because there is no penalty for them involved.”
The NTA leader went on to underline that “stable relationships and quality communication between teachers and parents not only benefit children in terms of parenting and family relations, but also employers in regard to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. By actively recognising working parents’ basic rights to school activities with paid leave from work, employees can concentrate more and contribute more at work because they feel respected and appreciated.”
National support boosts NTA campaign
Hou declared that NTA intends to step up this campaign in the coming year. Several companies, the national dentists’ association, and some law firms have responded positively to the union’s call, announcing that they would launch new measures for parents in their workplaces. In addition, many legislators across political lines have indicated that their legal assistants, policy researchers, and administrative personnel could have such parental leave.
The next step, according to Hou, is to continue to lobby for the relevant laws to be amended. NTA has taken the lead in securing working parents’ rights from the perspectives of the education profession and child welfare.
International support for the rights of working parents around participation in school activities has been received from Education International Asia-Pacific’s Office. Its Chief Regional Coordinator, Anand Singh, said: “It is the responsibility of all education stakeholders to ensure a quality learning environment for students. Both working parents and teachers need legal support to make that happen. The initiatives undertaken by NTA contribute to build up a better collaborative structure among key actors of quality education for all.”