A project by the Ministry of Education to implement 12-year compulsory education could be doomed because it is trying to please everybody, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said yesterday.
The pioneering program, which aims to ease students’ burdens and ensure social justice, appears to be fundamentally flawed as it neither eliminates the examination-based school entry system nor the so-called “star schools,” six DPP lawmakers on the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee said at a press conference yesterday.
The current plan, which is scheduled to be adopted in 2014, does not guarantee -examination-free entry to high schools nor narrow the gap between students from urban and rural areas or from different socioeconomic backgrounds, DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.
Eliminating the “star schools” is one of the most important goals of the reforms, DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said, adding that students should be able to develop without heavy academic pressure.
Ironically, all six lawmakers attended “star high schools.”
“We’ve been through it all, living under the pressure and parents’ expectation. And that is why we say the old system must be abandoned and examination-based education should become a thing of the past,” Cheng said.
From the ministry’s NT$28.8 billion (US$986.2 million) budget for the program this year, 65 percent is allocated for tuition subsidies and only NT$3.87 billion would be spent on the homogenization of high schools across the nation, DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) said.
While an experimental test-free entry mechanism will be implemented, the new system creates even more competition for students, DPP Legislator Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) said, because students would have to be ranked using as many as 15 categories in order for schools could trim applicant numbers.