Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Minister misrepresented reform plans: lawmaker

CLASSICAL CHINESE:DPP lawmaker Kuan Bi-ling said proposals to cut the number of classical Chinese texts in the high-school curriculum had no link to desinicization

By Rachel Lin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) yesterday accused the Ministry of Education of passively accepting its curriculum review committee’s decision to retain much of the classical Chinese literature taught in high schools.

The committee on Sunday last week passed a motion for 45 to 55 percent of high-school Chinese textbooks to be on classical Chinese literature pieces.

Kuan blasted the ministry for not clarifying enough that calls for reducing the teaching of classical Chinese literature were made to alleviate study-induced stress and promote diversity by introducing students to more literary styles, rather than out of pro-Taiwan independence political motives.

The ministry stated that the final decision was legal and that it would abide by the committee’s decision, Kuan said, adding that she doubted the ministry would even ask its 12 representatives on the panel to request a review.

Kuan accused Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) of showing “false neutrality” and urged him to be “braver,” as a review is possible if one-tenth of the committee members who passed the amendment requested one.

Under the Senior Secondary Education Act (高級中等教育法), the ministry selects a quarter of the review committee’s members, giving it great influence on the decision process, Kuan said.

The curriculum issue was not a matter of desinicization, but of keeping up with the times, she said, adding that the ministry should be able to defend its stance in face of such accusations.

The ministry should be rational, and understand that students are under great stress and should be introduced to various styles of literature, Kuan said.

The current percentage of classical Chinese is “absolutely absurd,” Kuan said, apologizing for the DPP’s education policy’s inclusion of so much classical Chinese content.

Some netizens said the ruling party would suffer greatly due to the government’s inability to gauge public needs.

Meanwhile, ministry K-12 Education Administration Division head Chiu Chien-kuo (邱乾國) said that discontent stemmed mainly from the passage of the motion without voting.

However, Chiu said that no ministry representative would request a review.

Some members nominated by other parties have stated they could file for a review, but the result would be for the committee to decide, Chiu said.

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