Fri, Jan 16, 2009 - Page 4 News List

NTA panel selects top 10 most important news stories related to education in 2008

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Teachers’ Association (NTA) accused politicians of making themselves “educational warlords” by creating unlawful education policies. The group publicized last year’s top 10 pieces of education news yesterday.

The 10 news items were first selected by a panel of 10 judges made up of the group’s members and were then put to an online vote to determine the ranking of the news items.

Almost 2,000 people — mostly educators, including school principals — voted and decided to give the Zongye Elementary School merger and the Taipei-Keelung united senior high school entrance exams stories the first and second places.

First place was a decision by Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) to merge Zongye Elementary School — with little more than 100 students — with nearby Wenjheng Elementary School to make way for the Zongye International Arts Village. Students, parents and teachers from Zongye opposed the merger and took action against the decision, including filing a lawsuit against the commissioner.

Despite the opposition — including a warning from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Control Yuan to reverse the decision — Su insisted on the merger and the opposition campaign continues.

In second place was the decision by education authorities in Taipei City, Taipei County and Keelung City to form their own educational bloc by choosing a junior high school curriculum and textbooks different to the rest of the country and to hold united high school entrance exams based on the Taipei-Keelung curriculum.

“The ‘one curriculum, one set of textbooks’ policy violates teachers’ freedom to choose textbooks guaranteed in the Teacher’s Act [教師法] and many school principals have complained to us about it,” Wu said. “Taipei and Keelung educational authorities are seeking approval from the MOE as an isolated case and we are asking lawmakers to amend the relevant laws, but the decision was made before the ministry’s approval and the amendment was completed.”

“Although local governments intervened in different ways, all politicians seemed to have made their policy decisions based on political reasons rather than educational ones,” NTA spokesman Lo Te-shui (羅德水), said. “They have made themselves educational warlords and have broken the law.”

The other news items on the list include an incident in which teachers at a private high school changed students’ grades to enhance their students’ college acceptance rate, the increase in college tuition and the MOE’s decision to allow military officers to stay on school campuses.

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