Ko says rates of school pickups show weakness
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wenje ( ) said yesterday that the high percentage of parents picking up and dropping off their children at school indicates dwindling child independence and called it a “national weakness.”
At a meeting hosted by the Education ( ) and Transportation ( ) ministries, Ko participated in a discussion about maintaining the safety of students commuting between home and school.
Statistics showed that 48.9 percent and 23.15 percent of elementary and middle school students, respectively, were accompanied to school by their parents. Other forms of commute included walking, biking and taking public transport.
According to Ko, 48.9 percent was too high for elementary school students. He said that the percentage indicated the declining independence of children and questioned whether this could be a matter of public safety or unsafe traffic.
Ko added that the middle school student rate was more understandable as students of the age group tend to live further from their schools. Elementary school students, however, usually live within walking distance from school and therefore should not need to be accompanied by their parents, Ko said.
The mayor said that by looking at the statistics, he could see that Taiwanese people have lost the ability to be independent.
According to Ko, the fact that his wife Chen Pei- chi (
) also took their children to school in the past always confused him. He said that now his children have grown up, it would be considered shameful to still drop them off and pick them up from school.
Ko said that he wants to set a new indicator called the KPI, which is the rate of parents who pick up and drop off their child at school.
Too many schools with a high KPI would indicate that principals are making Taiwanese become too dependent, according to Ko.