Wed, May 19, 2004 - Page 4 News List

New education minister promises balanced reform

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Education minister-designate and outgoing National Palace Museum Director Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) yesterday said he would accelerate high-school-curriculum reform after taking up office.

"I think the timing of a good policy is very important," Tu said yesterday at a news conference to launch his two latest books.

"There is little time for delaying curriculum reform, seeing as Minister [of Education] Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) postponed implementing the new curriculum for a year owing to the legislative boycott," he said.

Tu said the ministry would hold extensive and balanced discussions to speed up the reform process, while also being mindful of the need to follow through with previous policies.

Tu's new books -- one a collection of research and practical experiences relating to running the National Palace Museum, the other a record of his thinking and research as a historian over the past 10 years -- won praise from his museum colleagues and some historians at yesterday's book launch.

National Cultural Association director Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) called Tu an erudite historian with a strong sense of mission and responsibility.

He said he believed Tu would continue expressing his concern for society and education after assuming his new post.

"I urge lawmakers to show some respect toward Director Tu and not to rail against him just because they have opinions different to his," Su said.

Before serving as director of the National Palace Museum, Tu was a researcher at the Academia Sinica's Institute of History and Philology for nearly 20 years.

In recent years, Tu has become known for a historical theory of "concentric circles," which stresses teaching students Taiwanese history before moving outward to teach Chinese history.

Tu encourages his students to know history from those things that are the closest and the most familiar to them.

Pan-blue alliance lawmakers have steadfastly boycotted the proposed curriculum that adopts Tu's theory.

They fear that "Chinese culture" and "Chinese thought" will be purged from textbooks as part of government efforts promoting localization.

Tu yesterday emphasized that he was not about to do the things that lawmakers feared.

"I believe that the most valuable thing about a democratic system is that it tolerates different ideas and opinions," Tu said.

"I will do my utmost to find a balanced way of promoting new policy, and that includes curriculum reform," he said.

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