Sat, Jul 11, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Homeschooling supporters to join education rally

CHANGES Responding to a public call to extend compulsory education, an official stressed the need for gradual reforms or students might suffer

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Advocates of homeschooling said yesterday they would join parents' organizations in a rally tomorrow to urge the Ministry of Education to extend the length of compulsory education to 12 years and approve legislation for high school homeschooling.

Chen Yi-kuang (陳怡光), convener of Taiwan Homeschool Advocates — a group of families who homeschool their children — issued a press release saying the ministry had failed to protect the right of homeschooled children when it unveiled a plan to allow more junior high school graduates to skip high school entrance examinations.

Chen was referring to a ministry announcement on Monday last week that it planned to hold only one — instead of two — senior high school entrance examinations starting in the 2012 school year and to gradually allow more junior high school students to apply directly to senior high schools based on their school grades, instead of taking part in the entrance examinations, starting in the 2010 academic year.

The ministry allows parents to homeschool their children if they find standard elementary or junior high school education inadequate. However, homeschooled children are required to take entrance examinations if they want to enter senior high school.

Chen said the ministry's plan ran counter to the spirit of respect for different educational approaches, adding that there are now about 1,300 primary or high school-age children who have been homeschooled.

Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) said yesterday he understood parents' desire to extend free compulsory education to 12 years, but the ministry could not push hasty reforms that might be detrimental to students.

“Education is different from cooking instant noodles,” Cheng said.

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