Wed, Jul 23, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Politics out of education: Chen

REFORM DEBATE The president said changes to the educational system are too important to be allowed to get bogged down in partisan feuding or blame games

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said the debate over educational reform should not become a tool for partisan feuding and aggravate the conflicts and confrontations in society.

"Educational reform is the reexamination of policies, not a tool for partisan feuding. I can't agree with some political parties, who are manipulating the issue to deepen the conflicts in our society," Chen said yesterday at the DPP's regular Central Standing Committee meeting.

Speaking in his capacity as party chairman, Chen's comments came just days after hundreds of academics delivered a petition to the government on Saturday protesting the chaos in the educational system and the changes made to it in the past decade.

In the past 10 years the government has tried to make the educational system less rigid and diversify the educational opportunities available to students.

The academics, however, slammed both the KMT and DPP administrations, saying that both should be held accountable for the current chaos, which not only failed to equalize educational opportunities but increased the pressure on students.

"Success or failure, educational reforms concern the future of every child as well as our country. We can't allow any political selfishness or trickery to affect this issue," Chen said.

He said that looking to the future is a more responsible way to behave than casting the blame for the past.

"Honestly inspecting the problems, listening carefully to what the parents and students say and finding practical solutions should be the basic attitudes the government and society should have in order to improve our education," Chen said.

Chen also praised his wife Wu Shu-chen's (吳淑貞) European trip, saying her visits to Berlin and Rome had enabled European countries to better understand Taiwan.

Chen refuted PFP Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) comment that Wu used the historical treasures of the National Palace Museum to barter for an entry pass to visit Germany.

"We can't agree with Soong's remarks because the treasures of the museum are the precious assets of every citizen and the common cultural wealth of all humans. While Taiwan owns these beautiful assets, we shouldn't be prevented from sharing them with the world," Chen said.

Saying that Wu's trip was a hard-won opportunity for Taiwan to conduct diplomatic visits, given China's constant efforts to isolate Taiwan, Chen called on Soong and opposition parties to support such a rare achievement instead of siding with China's stance and undermining the nation's diplomatic confidence.

Chen said cultural exchanges are a useful tool to promote the nation's international visibility and an effective channel for conducting diplomacy.

In other developments, Barry Lam (林百里), chief executive officer of Quanta Computer, delivered a speech to the Central Standing Committee about the influence of the technology industry on overall economic development.

Quanta is the country's largest computer-laptop manufacturer.

Lam suggested five elements for improving technological development in Taiwan -- the government's stable financial policy, abundant human resources, as well as the sufficient supply of water, electricity and land for industries.

Chen praised Lam as a model entrepreneur for pioneering a prosperous technology industry. He said the government is seeking to improve the nation's investment environment through legislation, protection of intellectual property rights, human resource cultivation and technique innovation.

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