The ratio of classical Chinese-language articles included in the senior-high school curricula guidelines are to be decided by a Ministry of Education committee today.
The Association for Taiwan Literature on Thursday said that the ratio of classical Chinese lessons should be reduced to 30 percent and the number of classical Chinese articles reduced to 10 or 15.
However, Academia Sinica academic Tseng Yung-yih (曾永義) and others said that the 45 percent to 55 percent ratio should be maintained and the number of articles kept at 20.
Association for Taiwan Literature director Lin Chi-yang (林淇瀁), better known by his pen name, Xiang Yang (向陽), said in Thursday’s joint statement that the proportion should be reduced, while that of Taiwanese literature should be increased.
“Classic, modern or contemporary literature created in Taiwan is Taiwanese literature. These are valuable research tools that should be cherished,” he said.
Tseng and six other academics initiated an online petition to maintain the proportion.
“Language and cultural studies should be more expansive. If restrictions are imposed, student learning suffers,” said Tseng, who is also a National Taiwan University (NTU) Department of Chinese Literature honorary professor.
“Much of today’s spoken language is derived from ancient literature. It would not be good if people used only plain language without knowledge of the classics,” he said. “However, language is merely a form. More important is the content, philosophy, cultural heritage, ethics, morals and social spirit the form contains.”
Given that the draft was produced by the committee after two years’ discussion, it would be unreasonable if it is overturned by academics in other disciplines and online voting, NTU Chinese literature professor Cheng Yu-yu (鄭毓愉) said.
“This has nothing to do with classic and plain languages, nor with Chinese, Taiwanese or any kind of ideology,” she said. “From the perspective of language development, academics joining the petition are demanding that the ministry respect [curricula revision] procedures.”
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