Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chinese history, geography off official exams

AFP , TAIPEI

Examination Yuan officials ended months of a heated debate yesterday and declared tests for civil servants on Chinese history and geography will be abandoned from next year.

"We have decided to drop the part on `domestic history and geography' from the civil servant qualifying tests because knowledge on these subjects is irrelevant to their job skills," the Examination Yuan announced.

"Domestic history and geography" covers Taiwan and China.

The announcement follows a long-running row over proposals by pro-independence members of the Examination Yuan to ditch the tests because China should be viewed as a foreign country.

"Including China in the qualifying tests will confuse the identity and loyalty of would-be public servants," said Lin Yu-ti (林玉體), a senior examination coordinator.

"Which government should they be loyal to? To the government that's hostile to our country?" Lin said.

The Examination Yuan said in a statement the tests would stop from Jan. 16, adding that: "Deleting the subjects from the examinations will not affect people's affection for their country."

Taiwanese textbooks list Chinese history and geography as "domestic" to comply with a legacy established by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) which once considered itself the legal government of all China, including Taiwan.

KMT lawmakers have argued a lack of knowledge in history between China and Taiwan would narrow the vision of public servants and lead to poor decision-making on cross-strait issues.

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