Thu, May 29, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Lawmakers slam indecision over university exams

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education decided late last night to stick to its original decision to resume the essay test in the Chinese- and English-language subjects of this year's Joint University Entrance Examination.

The rest of the test, the ministry said, will proceed in the form of multiple choices.

Lawmakers yesterday attacked the ministry over its indecision on the format of this year's exams.

"We haven't seen any professionalism in these changes," KMT Legislator Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) said. "All we have seen are changes resulting from political pressure. The education minister is totally unreliable."

Last Thursday, the ministry and the Joint College Enrollment Committee announced that all written parts of the test, including Chinese and English essays and other non-multiple-choice questions such as mathematic proof questions, had been dropped to reduce the risk that those grading the tests would catch the SARS virus from the papers.

The test, which will be held between July 1 and July 3, would comprise only multiple-choice questions, which are processed in machines, according to the announcement.

The decision, coming a little more than a month before the exam was to be held, caused an outcry among school associations and parents, many of whom had been sending their students to cram schools to prepare for the essay sections of the test.

The following day, the ministry reinstated the Chinese and English essay sections of the test, but left out other sections that did comprise multiple-choice questions.

To avoid further criticism, Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) said he would make no further changes to the exam's format.

"It is not that I like to change, it is the lawmakers who forced me to do so," he said.

DPP Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) told President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Premier Yu Shyi-kun that if the government did not revert to the original test format, the DPP could lose precious public support less than a year ahead of next years' presidential election.

Shen said that the president seemed more concerned about the issue than the premier, who appeared reluctant to take a stand on the problem.

Even pan-green lawmakers expressed their dismay over the equivocation.

He said the ministry's indecision had dented the public's support for the DPP ahead of next year's presidential election.

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