Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Education minister urges values shift


Education reforms will not succeed unless the overall values of Taiwanese society changes, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) said yesterday.

Giving a speech in Taipei on the challenges in education development, Tu said education reforms are bound to fail if they involve only changes in schools.

According to Tu, education reforms should be comprehensive, farsighted and persistent and aimed at enhancing personal quality, rather than simply teaching children to pass exams.

If parents get angry when their children get only 60 percent in exams but feel happy when their children get 100 percent, this reflects their values, which will hinder rather than help the reforms, Tu said.

He said parents should not show off just because their child works as a doctor or feel embarrassed because their child works as a cook.

While it is a deep-rooted cultural tradition to hold prejudgments about different professions, it is time for parents to change their concepts and try to help their children develop the fields in which they excel, instead of restricting their development by using a fixed model to educate them, he said.

On the issue of localized education, Tu expressed the hope that the concept of localization will be incorporated into teaching materials soon so that future education ministers will not need to emphasize the issue any more.

Education reforms carried out in Taiwan over the past decade have drawn much criticism from parents. Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who headed an education reform committee under the Cabinet, admitted last month that the reforms have failed to relieve the stress on students but have instead put them under heavier pressure.

Meanwhile, a group of teachers of native Taiwanese languages staged a demonstration yesterday against what they claim is the government's neglect of mother tongue education.

Gathering outside the Ministry of Education headquarters, the protesters accused the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government of suppressing native languages and the present government of being ignorant and incompetent for not declaring native languages the country's official languages.

Liu Feng-chi (劉豐極), who led the demonstration, said the teachers hope the ministry will stop calling them "backup personnel" and pay them due respect.

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