Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Groups pan ministry over ‘fake’ parents in committee

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A coalition of education groups yesterday call for the Ministry of Education to review the parent representatives in its curriculum guidelines review committee during a protest in front of the ministry in Taipei.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

A coalition of education groups yesterday rallied in front of the Ministry of Education in Taipei to protest the ministry’s appointment of “fake” parents to its curriculum guidelines review committee for the 12-year national education system, saying that the appointments have created conflicts of interest.

The committee consisting of students, parents and teachers was assembled last year following student-led protests in 2015 against China-centric curricula for high-school social studies and Chinese literature.

Alliance on Obligatory Education director-general Wang Li-sheng (王立昇) said that most of the 13 parents on the committee have children who have already graduated from senior-high school, so they might not be able to reflect current students’ needs when reviewing curriculum guidelines.

As such, they are no different than “fake” parents, he said.

The roster is reviewed by a board charged solely with the task of reviewing the composition of the committee, he said.

Board members in charge of checking the backgrounds of committee members are nominated by legislators across party lines, Wang said, adding that it was unbelievable that the board approved the composition of the committee.

Ministry officials who approved the roster should be held responsible for their negligence, he said.

National Parents’ Alliance for 12-year Compulsory Education vice president Chen Chi-chen (陳綺貞) said there could be an exchange of benefits behind the appointments.

One member, surnamed Lin (林), runs a company that represents the American Mathematics Competitions in Taiwan, selling tests and programs, Chen said, adding that Lin could affect the committee’s decisionmaking by using his influence to promote the group’s products.

New Taipei City Parental Alliance president Su Yu-cheng (蘇祐晟) said that the New Taipei City Education Department has a similar committee comprising teachers, parents and students to discuss policies related to the 12-year national education system.

Parents who want to serve on the city board must have children in elementary, junior-high or senior-high school and register the classes and schools their children attend, he said, calling on the ministry to adopt similar rules when selecting committee members.

The protesters called on the ministry to review the makeup of the committee and asked parents whose children are not in the 12-year education system to give up their seats.

K-12 Education Administration official Hsu Chen-hsing (許陣興) said the roster was compiled from a list of candidates nominated by education groups nationwide, drawing protests from the demonstrators, who said their nominees were snubbed.

Administration Division Chief Tsai Meng-kai (蔡孟愷) said the ministry would not review the composition of the committee.

The members were selected based on their understanding of the education system, teaching experience and long-term participation in education affairs, rather than the age of their children, he said.

The administration would look into the alleged graft and ensure that the review process remains

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