Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday endorsed the controversial high-school curriculum guidelines at the weekly Cabinet meeting despite concerns expressed by local government officials.
With the Ministry of Education finalizing changes to the curriculum guidelines on history, civics, social studies, Chinese languages and geography earlier this week, officials from Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung made a last-ditch effort yesterday to have the policy reversed.
Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) briefed the Cabinet on the subject at the meeting, while Greater Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Lee Yung-te (李永得), Greater Tainan Deputy Mayor Hsu He-chun (許和均) and Greater Taichung Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) voiced their concerns, Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said.
“Since people are deeply divided over the new curriculum guidelines, which aim to promote the idea that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China in [high-school] textbooks, the Cabinet should not endorse them,” Cheng quoted Lee as saying at a press conference after the meeting.
Hsu questioned the professionalism of the members of the group invited by the ministry to decide on the curriculum guidelines and said that teachers in Greater Tainan have voiced grave reservations about the policy, Cheng said.
The Greater Taichung Government did not oppose the new guidelines, but Tsai said the ministry should seek better communication with local teachers who are at a loss as to which guidelines to follow, Cheng quoted him as saying.
Despite the opposition, Jiang threw his support behind the ministry, Cheng said.
Jiang praised the new guidelines, saying they would help bring education in line with historical facts, broaden students’ global view and incorporate the ideas enshrined in the nation’s Constitution into education, Cheng said.
The changes would see the era of Japan’s rule in Taiwan referred to as “Japanese colonial rule” and “China” as “mainland China” in textbooks, among other adjustments describing the connection between Taiwan and China before the founding of the Republic of China in 1912.
Other much-debated changes include the definition of self-determination as the right of people governed by colonial rulers as opposed to the right of people in general in the current guidelines, and removal of the White Terror era in a section dealing with human rights issues.