Lawmakers and teachers’ representatives yesterday called on Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to scrap the controversial tri-city high-school entrance exams to avoid more trouble that could jeopardize students’ future.
The exams, used in Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung as part of the three municipalities’ single--textbook policy, sparked controversy after students complained about the school application process, which they said had “ambiguous admissions thresholds.”
The admission process created difficulties for students and parents, who have since focused their anger at the municipal governments.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
The idea for the exam originated in 2007 out of “narrow-minded regionalism,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said at a forum organized by the Taiwan Brain Trust (TBT) think tank.
It was the brainchild of Hau and Minister of Education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基), who at the time headed Taipei’s Department of Education, who wanted to replace the nationwide examinations and the multiple-textbook policy of the then-DPP central government, Kuan said.
The problems caused by the exams were “fundamental issues” rather than “technical” as described by Hau, she said, adding that with the national 12-year compulsory education scheduled to be implemented in 2014, if Hau refused to terminate the exams, students in the three municipalities could face four different high-school entrance systems in the five years from last year until 2014.
“We’re talking about students’ future here. How can a national exam be an experimental -project?” Kuan asked.
The tri-city exams, which were created with the aim of reducing stress for students and to be unique, have failed to accomplish their main goal, National Teachers’ Union secretary-general Wu Chung-tai (吳忠泰) said.
“The questions [on the tri-city exams] are not much different from the nationwide exams,” Wu said. “The experimental exams are not necessary, because we’re only two years away from the 12-year compulsory system.”
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said the party would terminate the exams if it returns to power next year and urged Wu Ching-ji to step up and resolve the controversy.
“We need to hear what New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Keelung [Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮)] have to say about the exam,” TBT chief executive officer Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said. “They haven’t spoken at all.”
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