Students stage nationwide protest

CURRICULUM CONTROVERSY::Students from at least 16 high schools from across Taiwan are protesting the ‘China-centric’ curriculum that they say was ‘bulldozed’ through

By Rachel Lin, Liang Pei-chih and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Sat, May 30, 2015 - Page 1

A wave of high-school student protests against the Ministry of Education’s controversial adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines has escalated, with students from at least 16 high schools campaigning in nationwide, coordinated action.

Following a sit-in organized by National Taichung First Senior High School students earlier this month, the initiative has drawn support from fellow students at National Hsinchu Senior High School, Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School and National Wuling Senior High School in Taoyuan, among others.

Opposition to the modified curriculum set to be implemented in August stems from perceived procedural flaws by the ministry, as well as changes to history textbooks that critics say reflect a “China-centric” view.

The ministry has been “too dogmatic” in bulldozing through the curricular adjustments, students at National Chu-pei Senior High School in Hsinchu County said, adding that they hope that history teachers can be freed from political interference and join the students’ cause.

Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School student Ho Wei-tzu (何蔚慈) said that the school’s student association is set to organize larger protests nationwide in collaboration with fellow students at National Hsinchu Senior High School.

The anti-curriculum campaign aims for the revocation of the adjusted curriculum and a re-evaluation of the curriculum-reviewing mechanism, he said.

“The ministry, as the governing body [of education], is culpable by failing to maintain procedural justice [in modifying the curriculum], on which civic education has placed great emphasis. The new curriculum of civic education is thereby problematic,” he said.

Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School teacher Tseng Yi-ming (曾宜敏) said that she was pleased to see students respond to social issues, as the purpose of education is to foster students’ ability to think critically and act correspondingly.

New Taipei Municipal Zhonghe Senior High School student activist Liang Yan-jou (梁艷柔) said that students organized a forum to debate changes to the curriculum on the campus last week, attracting more than 200 students and teachers.

A series of activities organized by high-school students against the curricular adjustments include a panel discussion moderated by spokeswoman of the Black Island National Youth Front Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤) at Jianguo High School yesterday; a demonstration marching from Jhongli Station in Taoyuan tomorrow; a forum at National Tainan Girls’ Senior High School on Wednesday next week; and a panel discussion at SuSu Second-Hand Bookstore and Guesthouse chaired by education activist Chou Wei-tung (周威同) in Taitung County on Thursday next week.

Facebook communities have been established to mobilize more students to advance the campaign.

Additional reporting by Weng Yu-ming and Wang Chun-chieh