Liberty Times: Hsinchu High School has the most students who signed a petition against the curriculum changes. Why do the students oppose the Ministry of Education’s plan?
Students: High-school students must study many different materials and it is difficult to persuade everyone to sign the petition against the changes. A group of students in the school are working together and finding all relevant information on the matter and have held workshops for open debates.
We have invited teachers and university professors to the workshops for discussion as well. The main discontent is focused on the procedure used to determine the curriculum and how the changes are not ideal and seek to use education as a tool to force ideologies upon people that are supported by a minority.
Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times
The school’s attitude toward this matter greatly increased our efforts in persuading so many students to sign the petition. In contrast with other schools, where teachers and parents are telling students to focus on their studies and help increase the number of students who get accepted to top universities, Hsinchu High School officials are allowing students to pass out fliers on the matter at the school gates, as well as allowing open debates on the matter.
With more people coming together and understanding the issue, there will be more people signing the petition opposing the changes.
LT: Hsinchu Senior High School has already decided to continue using older versions of the history and civic education textbooks. Are students not afraid that they will be out of touch with materials presented in examinations?
Students: From what we understand, the teachers hope that the textbooks would refrain from slanted historical views, but the ministry’s recent official notice demanding that schools use the new textbooks has put pressure on the school’s administrators.
However, civic education teachers had already decided to use the older textbooks, and the history teachers made the same decision. They are waiting for the ministry to officially repeal its former notice under public pressure before making their choices official.
As for the examinations, according to our research, examinations usually avoid controversial content, as it would only cause more problems that the College Entrance Examination Center would want to avoid.
Primarily, students are opposing political forces intervening in their education. The prime target of our opposition is the Ministry of Education, which we feel should adhere to established procedures for deciding curricula.
LT: Participants in the meeting that passed the controversial changes said that textbooks were meant to serve political goals, adding that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also amended the curriculum when it was in power from 2000 to 2008. Why are high-school students so strongly opposing the changes made now?
Students: Prior to the lifting of Martial Law, all senior-high schools had only one version of textbooks — the one compiled and published by the National Institute for Compilation and Translation — which is evidently an educational tool used by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Following the permits issued to private companies to publish textbooks, the first curriculum was devised in 1999, with a temporary curriculum adopted by the DPP in 2006, followed by their proposal for a new curriculum in 2009.
Since the KMT returned to power, it threw out the DPP’s 2009 proposal and instead nominated its own 2012 curriculum, which is the controversial “minor adjustments” to high-school curricula that — despite its controversy — the ministry is adamant about implementing by August.
I made some effort to understand the processes in each of the aforementioned periods and found that the changes made under the DPP government were comparatively law-abiding, allowing for teachers to comment on the changes, while sending the proposals through an assembled curriculum committee, the Committee of Curriculum Development and the Committee of Curriculum Review.
Academics participating in the meetings at the time were all authorities in their respective fields and made the changes keeping the students in mind. The public hearings were also more structured.
However, this time, the curriculum changes have often been called a “black-box” operation that was manipulated by a minority of academics who had no expertise in the subjects being modified. Most of the teachers who conduct the teaching have been removed from the process, with some complaining of receiving the notice to attend the public hearings after the hearings have concluded.
Even students in their minors know that political intervention [in education] is wrong, and that is why we oppose these changes.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease