Fri, Jun 12, 2015 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Student pans ‘black box’ curriculum changes

As high-school students across the nation rally against the Ministry of Education’s adjustments to high-school curriculum guidelines, Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) staff reporter Jennifer Huang interviewed Ho Wei-tzu, who heads the student council at a school at the forefront of the recent protests — Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School

Students at that school did not have to campaign behind closed doors, and they held a public forum on the campus to allow students to openly express themselves.

The Taichung high school principal even supported students discussing the public affairs that they had learned in class.

This was why the National Taichung First Senior High School student association fired the first shot in the anti-curriculum campaign by organizing a protest by students at the school’s 100th anniversary ceremony last month.

However, teachers and officials at most high schools, even those at our school, still have a relatively conservative attitude, selecting textbooks according to convention and believing that the most important thing for students is to learn by rote.

The ministry ordered high schools to “maintain safety and stability on campus.” Our school respects the students’ right to debates on the curriculum, but has misgivings about these being made public in media reports.

Students in the anti-curriculum campaign are often challenged by those with a conservative mindset, and students must fight to ensure their demands are heard.

Students have to express their points of view articulately in order to win the respect of their teachers and other adults in authority.

I believe that the campaign will bring about changes at high schools.

Such black-box decisions cannot remain hidden in the Internet era; adults in power — of any political affiliation — should not assume that high-school students can be easily controlled or are prepared to accept without question what they are taught.

Translated by staff writer Chen Wei-han

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