A plan to reduce the number of hours for Chinese classes in the school curriculum has been criticized by the Association to Remedy Chinese Language Education.
Under the curriculum proposed by the National Academy for Educational Research, the weekly number of Chinese classes for junior and senior-high school students would be cut by one class from 2018, which the association said would negatively affect students’ language and literature skills.
Lee Su-chen (李素真), executive secretary of the association, said that Chinese instruction has regressed over the past several years, since education reforms were introduced in 1995.
Liu Yuan-tsun (劉源俊), deputy convener of the association, said he found that students were less able to ask and answer questions, a phenomenon that he attributed to an inability of the students to express themselves.
Poet Yu Kwang-chung (余光中), writer and former lawmaker Chang Show-foong (張曉風) and former National Taiwan University president Sun Chen (孫震) are among the more than 30 prominent figures who have signed a petition launched in January against the move, the association said.
In response, Fan Hsin-hsien (范信賢), director of the academy’s Center for Curriculum and Instruction, said that the total hours of Chinese classes required for graduation would remain the same even with four Chinese credits categorized as elective courses.
The change, which is to be introduced across all subjects, is aimed at allowing students to choose courses more suitable for their personal needs, he said.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
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