Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ying-jeou (蔡英文) unveiled her education policy yesterday, pledging to implement a mandatory 12-year school program in one fell swoop if she is elected in January’s presidential election.
The compulsory education system now includes six years of elementary school and three years of junior-high school.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has said it plans to expand compulsory education to 12 years by 2014, and will implement the plan in stages.
Tsai said that if she won in January, the DPP’s goal was to implement the expanded 12-year program at one time, rather than dividing it up in stages.
She said she hoped the next generation would be more cultured and enjoy a healthier educational environment than this generation has.
The DPP wants to provide an equal chance for education through subsidies and public policies, Tsai said, adding that it would focus its educational investment and student subsidies programs in remote and disadvantaged areas in order to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas as well as the gap between rich and poor.
The DPP program would also seek to gradually narrow the ratios of students going to public and private schools, she said.
Tsai’s educational policy would also promote international academic exchanges, including cross-strait programs as long as they do not undermine Taiwanese students’ benefits, the expansion of life-long education to the middle-aged and elderly, especially women, and -provide “course and syllabus adjustments” to develop materials that promote local humanities against a background of globalization.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER