A group of student protesters rallied in front of the Ministry of Education building yesterday, demanding the withdrawal of a set of controversial high-school curriculum guidelines that the ministry plans to implement in August — despite a decision by the High Administrative Court on Thursday last week ruling against the proposed changes.
More than 50 protesters — joined by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) — held placards protesting against what they called the ministry’s illegal act of drafting and implementing the new curriculum guidelines.
The draft amendments to the history curriculum only focus on Taiwanese history, with certain chapters having more than half of their contents revised, National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan History associate professor Lee Fu-chung (李福鐘) said.
The proposed curriculum would replace a pluralistic, global perspective on Taiwanese history with a distinct pro-China bias, as it stresses the contributions of the Qing Dynasty to Taiwan’s development and downplays the role of Japan, he said.
It also reintroduces an outdated term quan fu (光復) — meaning the recovery of Taiwan by the Republic of China from Japanese rule, he said, adding that the term is a throwback to former president Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) regime.
Ordinary teachers have been excluded from the ministry’s decisonmaking process, Dazhi Senior High School teacher Huang Yi-chung (黃益中) said, and the official notification that a curriculum hearing was to be held arrived only after the registration deadline had expired, Huang said, adding that the ministry refused to disclose records of the hearing in the name of personal data protection.
He said the “defective curricula” should be revoked and teachers should be consulted before curricula are drawn up.
Youth Group in Defense of Taiwan Culture and History activist Lan Shih-po (藍士博) said they held protests against the ministry’s curricular adjustments last year, and he regretted that the ministry had ignored their appeals.
He demanded that the ministry redraft the curriculum guidelines, saying that the ministry’s draft proposal was procedurally flawed according to the High Administrative Court’s ruling. Restoration of Taiwan Social Justice activist Lin Yu-lun (林于倫) said that the ministry’s proposed changes do not do justice to the period of Japanese rule or aboriginal history, adding that the ministry should not serve as a mouthpiece for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) or China.
In response, K-12 Education Administration director Wu Ching-shan (吳清山) said the ministry would consider appealing the court’s ruling after it receives the verdict documentation.
However, the court’s ruling was based on the ministry’s information disclosure, rather than the contents of curricular adjustments, he said.