Sun, Nov 14, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Lend support to education reforms

By the Liberty Times editorial

The Ministry of Education has announced a draft guideline for the high school history curriculums, listing four volumes of textbooks for the required history courses. The first volume is Taiwan history, the second Chinese history, and the third and fourth volumes world history. The founding of the Republic of China (ROC) is incorporated into the Chinese history, while its taking over Taiwan is incorporated into the Taiwan history.

Another major breakthrough is that the debates over the status of Taiwan -- which was deliberately left out of curriculums in the past -- will now be included in the teaching materials for history classes. Through a complete introduction of the Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Declaration, San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Sino-Japan Peace Treaty, among others, the students of Taiwan will finally be cleared of the historical mist that has lingered since the authoritarian era. They will learn about the truth of Taiwan's history and cultivate their Taiwan consciousness.

The unification-independence issue has always touched some very sensitive nerves amidst the polarization between the pan-blue and pan-green camps. Although the ministry's move in adopting history curriculums centered on Taiwan is rather belated in comparison with the rapid pace of the democratization and localization in Taiwan, it nevertheless attracted strong criticisms and opposition from the pan-blue camp.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) indicated during the meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee that "ideology is only the religion of a few people, but history cannot be changed, so anyone who attempts to replace history with ideology is betraying his or her own roots."

"Doing so will only bring disaster for the country and hurt the people," Lien went on to say.

The KMT and People First Party legislative caucuses accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government of trying to practice substantive Taiwan independence by infusing ideologies into the national examinations and educational curriculums. Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) alleged during a meeting at the Executive Yuan that there are 11 documents relevant to the nation's status, including the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Sino-Japan Peace Treaty, Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Declaration, and the Shanghai Communique, among others, and that all of them should be covered if it is the intention of the government to be complete and thorough.

Taipei City Department of Education Chairman Wu Ching-chi (吳清基), who has served not only as the vice minister of education but also as the convener of the curriculum revision task force several times, indicated that he definitely supports increasing the proportion of teaching materials on the history of Taiwan.

However, according to Wu, the present revisions to the curriculums are oriented to Taiwan independence and will sever the ties between the histories of China and Taiwan, twisting people's perceptions of history and creating twisted national identification for students.

In a nutshell, the pan-blue camp's criticisms against the proposed revisions to high school history curriculums consist of accusing the DPP government of ideologically-driven interference in history curriculums, as well as twisting history in an attempt to accomplish the goal of de-sinicization.

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