Sat, Jul 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Examination handling defended

CHARGES Pan-blue legislators had charged the Ministry of Education with pressuring a county government not to take steps that would have altered the exam schedule

By Debby Wuand Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Ministry of Education denied wrongdoing yesterday amid criticism directed at it stemming from over 200 students in Taitung having taken the Joint College Entrance Examination under the threat of Typhoon Mindulle two days ago.

"We have not heard any complaints from the students about their rights having been violated on account of the typhoon," vice minister Chou Tsan-te (周燦德) said -- though he acknowledged having seen TV footage of students in Taitung falling on slippery pavement and getting wet.

regulations

According to the regulations of the College Entrance Examination Center, the national examination should be postponed in any city or county that cancels school and work because of a typhoon or for other reasons.

Chou said that the ministry and the center had put the regulations in place a long time ago and that authorities had adhered to them.

Chou denied media reports that he had pressured the Taitung County Government not to announce half-days so that the examination could proceed as scheduled.

`passing the buck'

He said that he had in fact talked to Taitung County Commissioner Hsu Ching-yuan (徐慶元) but had only provided background information so that the commissioner could make a sound decision.

Chou made the statements during a press conference held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus, with KMT legislators criticizing the ministry and center on account of the exam having been held as scheduled, and also claiming that the ministry had attempted to avoid responsibility by passing the buck to regional governments.

"The examination should be fair to students above all, and a major decision on whether the exam should go ahead should not have been made just one day before the typhoon arrived. The authorities had known about the typhoon well ahead of time," KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said.

KMT Legislator Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) said that the center should have dealt with the exam more carefully.

"Whether ordinary workers should have a day off can be decided by city and the county governments alone, but the examination affects the whole country, and any decision on it should have been made by the center instead of the regional government," Huang Teh-fu said.

Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) also denied accusations that the ministry had put pressure on the Taitung County Government to allow the exam to be held as scheduled despite the storm.

`expressing concern'

Tu said that he had called Hsu on Thursday evening, but only to express to Hsu his concern about the situation in Taitung, rather than to exert any pressure.

Earlier in the day, Hsu said it was his own decision not to cancel work and school during the typhoon and had nothing to do with pressure from anyone else. Hsu also said that he was willing to take all the responsibility for his decision.

Lee Chung-yuan (李鍾元), vice president of the center, said yesterday that examinees who were affected by the typhoon could appeal to the center in 10 days and the center would take action after reviewing their appeals.

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