Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 3 News List

TSU calls ministry curriculum change report ‘a hoax’

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus yesterday invited the Ministry of Education (MOE) to report on its latest actions over the curriculum guidelines controversy since the resolution made by the legislature’s cross-caucus negotiation on Aug. 4, and afterward derided the report as “a hoax.”

K-12 Education Administration Deputy Director Wang Cheng-hsien (王承先), the only ministry official to attend the press conference and present the ministry’s report, reiterated that the adjustment process was “constitutional, legal and in accordance with due procedures.”

Saying that the controversy arose due to different groups of people’s “different viewpoints about parts of history, contexts of [historical] incidents and national identity,” Wang said that the ministry has established certain “practical measures,” pursuant to the legislature’s resolution and the Executive Yuan’s Cabinet decision, to quell the controversy over the curriculum adjustments.

The measures are what have previously been avowed by the Executive Yuan: the simultaneous acknowledgement of both new and old versions of textbooks, that the controversial parts will not be included in the college entrance exams, the convening of a review team on the curriculum guidelines adjustments and the guideline-setting process, and the drafting of legislation on educational neutrality.

Wang said a meeting with the textbook publishers has been scheduled for Monday to determine whether schools would run into problems concerning the signed contracts.

The controversies in history curriculum guidelines that have been recognized by the ministry “will be discussed by experts invited by the education administration, and an appendix encompassing the different historical interpretations to the history textbooks is to be produced for teachers to lead a rational discussion respecting diversity in the classroom,” Wang added.

The ministry has also decided to hold the said review conference on Aug. 28, Wang said.

TSU Legislator Lai Chen-chang (賴振昌) said the report did not accomplish what the ministry was asked to do, as the legislative resolution demanded that the ministry “immediately launch” the review process and allow the schools to freely “re-choose” textbooks, but the ministry referred to an official document issued in June as the basis for granting schools the right to freely choose their textbooks.

“Where is your official decree after the legislature made the resolution that schools’ rights to freely choose the textbooks should be guaranteed? You are well aware that bureaucrats need official sanction to support their actions. And what will the ministry do to compensate their losses if they changed to other textbooks?” TSU Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) asked.

“Aug. 17 is simply too late. The schools have already finished selecting their textbooks by then. Likewise, the students will be starting their new semester by Aug. 28, the day you said that the adjustment review meeting will be taking place,” Chou said, calling the ministry’s measures a “hoax.”

Chang Wen-long (張文隆), a high-school history teacher invited by the TSU, said the ministry’s remarks about differing historical perspectives “obscure the point,” as it is the adjustment committee members’ “serious lack of expertise” on history that made the content intolerable.

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