Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Changes urged to review process

BETWEEN THE LINES:A meeting meant to bring an end to the debate over the Chinese literature curriculum for high schoolers provoked criticism over the voting

By Chu Po-cheng, and William Hetherington Tseng Wei-chen  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Members of a Ministry of Education curriculum review committee and campaigners are calling for changes to the review process after no consensus was reached a meeting on Sunday on the proportion of classical Chinese content for the high-school curriculum.

That failure means that the original proposal by a committee overseen by the National Academy for Educational Research might now be passed without contest, despite the disagreement over some of its content.

Curriculum review committee student representative Liao Hao-hsiang (廖浩翔) said Sunday’s review only discussed high-school coursework, and that the Chinese literature curriculum for vocational and comprehensive high schools has yet to be discussed.

There still needs to be a vote on the overall 12-year curriculum changes, he said, adding that he plans to ask the ministry to shelve changes to classical Chinese coursework pending further discussion by the review committee.

Another committee member, National Alliance of Parents Organizations chairman Hsieh Kuo-ching (謝國清), on Monday said several proposals had been raised at Sunday’s meeting, including reducing the percentage of classical Chinese in literature courses to between 30 and 40 percent, or completely eliminating it from the guidelines.

Despite voting on the issue, the review committee never discussed whether classical Chinese content should even be reduced at all, he said.

Many committee members abstained from voting because the order of voting meant that the proposals raised last were voted on first, he said.

He said he voted only on reducing classical Chinese content, not wanting to see it removed completely.

“Many review committee members did not have their voices heard because of procedural problems,” he said.

Association for Taiwan Literature director Lin Chi-yang (林淇瀁) — who is better known by his pen name Xiang Yang (向陽) — called on the review committee to change its voting procedures and have the ministry hold a new meeting on the issue.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) echoed Lin’s call, saying that the first item proposed should be the first item voted on.

The number of committee members who abstained from voting — 28 out of 45 members — was unusually high.

Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) yesterday said the outcome of Sunday’s meeting followed legal procedure and the duties and responsibilities of the review committee.

Committee members who disagree with the outcome can air their grievances at a meeting scheduled for Saturday next week, Lin said.

However, Alliance on Obligatory Education director-general Wang Li-sheng (王立昇) said that a new vote should be held, citing the number of review committee members and the failure of four proposals to pass review.

Wang criticized the ministry’s and review committee’s handling of the entire issue as well as the voting, saying that abstaining should be considered evidence of disagreement.

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