Tue, Jul 06, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Exams are on despite extensive ruin

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Even though Tropical Storm Mindulle has inflicted severe damage on a number of elementary and high schools in central Taiwan, the Ministry of Education yesterday said that Basic Competency Tests for junior high graduates will be held this Saturday and Sunday as scheduled.

Vice Minister of Education Lu Mu-lin (呂木琳) yesterday said that the 141 schools providing examination rooms for the tests were undamaged by the storm as it swept the nation.

Lu said that the ministry had therefore decided not to postpone the tests.

"But the ministry will also help examinees living in disaster areas with transportation and accommodation during the days of the exam," Lu said.

"We will do our best to make sure every student takes the exam under fair conditions," he said.

Lu said the ministry had ordered schools near disaster areas to provide dormitories and facilities to students taking the tests and that the ministry would provide emergency grants to students and their families.

SCHOOLS DAMAGED

The storm damaged 281 schools around the country, with 89 schools throughout central and southern Taiwan suffering serious damage and requiring urgent repairs. The most damage was inflicted on schools in Taichung, Yunlin, Nantou, Chiayi and Kaohsiung counties and Tainan City.

On Sunday afternoon, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) inspected damaged schools in Tungshih and Fengyuan in Tai-chung County, two locations that were also devastated by the 911 earthquake in 1999.

Chungko Elementary School and Tungshih Junior High School were the most damaged schools in the county. The schools' computer classrooms, library, teachers' offices and infirmaries were inundated with floodwater. Tu ordered ministry officials to rebuild the schools as quickly as possible.

Preliminary ministry estimates indicate that nearly NT$200 million will be needed to rebuild or restore the damaged buildings and facilities.

The approximately 600 students unable to take the Joint College Entrance Examination because of the storm will be required to sit make-up exams from July 21 to July 23, with other entrance concessions also possible, said Chen Teh-hua (陳德華), director of the ministry's Department of Higher Education.

It will be the first time the center has reheld tests since 1954.

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