Taipei City’s change of policy on the tri-city high school entrance exams failed to end the controversy over its problematic admissions process as a group of parents yesterday slammed Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) for sacrificing the rights of students with his latest decision to allow new admissions.
In a move to calm the furor from students and parents over the controversial process, Hau on Tuesday announced that students who were not satisfied with the application process could reapply on the Internet, with the city’s Department of Education opening up more than 2,200 vacancies for new admissions.
A group of parents, accompanied by New Party Taipei City Councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇), protested against the policy change yesterday, saying the new process was further damaging their children.
A mother surnamed Chang (張) said her daughter decided to take the second joint high school entrance exam last week after failing the first exam in May and that the new admissions process was unfair to those who made the effort to participate in the second exam.
“Hau and the city government said the policy change would make no difference for students as they have been given a second chance, but that is wrong. It has made a huge difference to students and parents who need to go through the admissions process all over again,” she said.
Wang said the city has broken the rules and violated exam principles and that the Hau administration should take full responsibility for the policy flip-flop.
The tri-city high school exams, which are used in Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung, were held in May and last week as part of the three cities’ single-textbook policy. They sparked a furor after students complained about the problematic application process because of “ambiguous admissions thresholds.”
Hau yesterday continued to defend the policy while appearing apologetic in an interview with the News98 radio station.
“There’s nothing wrong with the policy itself, but the admissions process was problematic. We are trying to fix the problem with the new admission and it would be unfair to junior high school students if we change the exam next year,” he said.
The single-textbook policy was the result of a confrontation between the Hau administration and then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) central government in 2007, when Hau criticized the Ministry of Education’s multiple-textbook policy and insisted on standardizing textbooks in schools.
When reached by reporters yesterday, Control Yuan member Chao Jung-yao (趙榮耀) said he would propose to the Educational and Cultural Committee that the case be investigated. If the proposal passes, the Control Yuan would conduct an investigation into whether there was any administrative negligence on the part of Hau and other officials.
Meanwhile, DPP Chairperson presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the controversy facing the tri-city high school entrance exams was the result of local governments disrespecting professionals’ views and their insistence to be at odds with the central government.
Additional reporting by Chen Hui-ping and Staff Writer
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