Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT protests textbook changes

`IMPROPER' The ministry proposes changing terminology concerning relations with China, such as replacing `cross-strait relations' with `nation-to-nation relations'

By Mo Yan-chihand Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday protested the Ministry of Education's plan to revise some 5,000 terms in school textbooks relating to the nation's ties with China.

The KMT said it would invite experts to present its version of the curriculum.

The ministry said on Friday that it had invited academics from a civil group called the Taiwan History Association to review the content of school textbooks and consider the possibility of revising "improper" terms. "Cross-strait relations" could be changed to "nation-to-nation relations" and Sun Yat-sen's (孫中山) title as the Republic of China's (ROC) founding father could be removed.

Yang Tu (楊渡), commissioner of the KMT's culture and communication committee, condemned the ministry's plans, saying they promoted independence. Yang said the 18 city and county governments governed by the KMT would refuse to implement the changes.

"The Constitution says Sun Yat-sen was the founding father of the ROC, and the ministry is violating the Constitution by changing his title without national consensus," Yang said yesterday in a statement.

KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) joined the criticism, calling the changes an attempt at "de-sinicization" and a new form of martial law.

"The plan is like a new martial law, restricting [freedom of] thought and speech. It's not what an education ministry should do," he said yesterday in Taichung.

Yang said that changing textbook terminology would have broad effects, adding that the ministry should therefore hold public forums and invite teachers, parents and students to discuss the issue first.

The KMT will invite education and history specialists to edit history textbooks from both Taiwanese and global perspectives for use in cities and counties administrated by the party, Yang said, calling on the ministry to respect the authority of local governments concerning school curriculums.

In response, Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠), director of the ministry's Department of Elementary Education, said yesterday that the changes to elementary school textbooks were made after extensive research by scholars and ministry officials on confusion created by discrepancies in terminology between various texts.

"Because of the diversity of textbooks, confusion as to how to address China and about other terminology is rife," Pan told the Taipei Times by phone yesterday.

Following changes to high school textbooks in February, the education ministry decided to make similar changes in elementary textbooks, Pan said.

References to "the mainland" were revised to read "China" in high school textbooks, drawing criticism from pan-blue supporters.

"Students are learning one term from one book and then coming across a different term in another," he said.

"We've discovered that this creates confusion and we're trying to achieve consistency," he said.

Brushing off criticism that the ministry should have consulted with parents and the National Teachers' Association, Pan said that various experts had been consulted, adding that the changes had been sent to local school authorities to allow them to express their opinions.

"It hasn't gone to press yet. Right now, the textbook changes are just part of a proposed curriculum plan," Pan said, adding that no date had been set yet for printing new textbooks.

For now, he said, the ministry is only gauging the opinions of school authorities and the public's response.

This story has been viewed 3991 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top