Students occupying the Ministry of Education’s courtyard yesterday expressed their determination to “fight to the end” and continue their protest until the controversial new curriculum guidelines are withdrawn.
“We will not withdraw until the curriculum guidelines are withdrawn,” student spokesman Liao Chung-lun (廖崇倫) of Taichung First Senior High School said. “Unless Minister [of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華)] walks out in person to apologize, withdraw the ‘black box’ curriculum guidelines and take political responsibility for his actions by resigning, we will stand fast here, refusing to compromise.”
He added that students had not yet set a deadline for their demands to be met before they “upgrade” the protests.
The “fine-tuning” of high school curriculum guidelines which went into effect yesterday had sparked controversy for an allegedly “China-centric” focus and opaque approval process, leading student activists to occupy the ministry’s outer courtyard earlier on Friday morning to demand their withdrawal.
The students’ occupation continued to attract large crowds last night with white flowers commemorating student activist Dai Lin (林冠華) piling up in front of the ministry’s doors, as well as lining the entrance to the courtyard.
Lin’s suicide on Thursday was the catalyst for the latest protests.
The Humanist Education Foundation, Taiwan Association of University Professors, Taiwanese Teachers Alliance, National Alliance of Parents Organizations, New School for Democracy and other civic groups also assembled outside the ministry complex in support of the students, attracting a crowd to a neighboring road for an evening of music interspersed by speeches opposing the guidelines.
“Students have already stood up and expended such a huge amount of time and energy,” Humanist Education Foundation executive director Joanna Feng (馮喬蘭) said. “Civil organizations also need to step forward because what the students are fighting for is our future as well as their own.”
The groups also plan to lead a march today around the ministry complex in opposition to the guidelines.