Tue, Nov 25, 2003 - Page 4 News List

CIP head urges speedier policy reform

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The head of the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) yesterday urged the Ministry of Education to quickly implement promised educational policies meant to provide Aboriginal people with equal educational resources and opportunities.

"The most important element in promoting the sustainable development of Aboriginal people is education," council chairman Chen Chien-nien (陳建年) said during a speech to a gathering of government representatives and school principals yesterday.

The council and the ministry invited 230 elementary and high-school principals from Aboriginal townships to discuss policies developed at the National Conference on Educational Development in September, particularly methods of enhancing Aboriginal education that do not fall within standard school curricula.

Chen said that the first of the topics the conference discussed was how to increase educational opportunities for minority groups.

He urged the ministry to implement the policies as soon as possible. One of these was the certification of linguistic competence which would allow Aborigines to teach native languages in the public school system.

According to a survey conducted by the council, only 0.58 percent of the Aboriginal population study in colleges and still less -- 0.15 percent -- reach graduate school, Chen said.

"It is unfair for Aboriginal students to enter an educational system that Han [Chinese] are familiar with, but which is almost entirely alien to them," Chen said.

"In fact, a lack of proper education for Aboriginal people causes disadvantages later when looking for work or when trying to attempt further study," Chen said.

"This forms a vicious circle," he added.

Council Deputy Chairman Pu Chung-cheng (浦忠成) suggested that more emphasis be placed on Aboriginal culture and history in teaching materials for Aboriginal students.

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