The Ministry of Education is rushing to finish a review of the curriculum guidelines for its 12-year national education program by the end of the month.
The ministry held five review sessions over the weekend, but it is still on a tight timeline if it wants the new guidelines to go into effect at the start of the 2019 school year.
Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) began hosting review sessions on July 21, five days after taking office.
On Saturday, Yeh hosted the 58th, 59th and 60th review sessions at the National Academy for Educational Research’s Taipei branch.
He said he understands the education sector’s expectations for the new curriculum and the ministry’s goal is still to implement the guidelines at the start of next year’s fall semester, as planned.
To implement the new rules next year, the ministry must finish reviewing them by the end of the month. However, it has so far published only one-third of curricula, including for mathematics, Mandarin and English.
Guidelines for the natural sciences, arts, special areas of study, and parts of the specialized programs at technical and vocational high schools, which make up another third of the guidelines, are still being reviewed.
The ministry has not yet started reworking the guidelines that pertain to social studies subjects including history, geography, and civics and society, or those for the remaining parts of the specialized programs at technical and vocational high schools.
The K-12 Education Administration said it hopes to begin reviewing the plans for social studies subjects, which have received the most public attention, by the middle of the month.
High schools are to begin selecting textbooks in May next year. However, even if all guidelines are published by the end of the month, publishing companies might not have enough time to write, edit and send their textbooks to the ministry for review.
Academy president Sheu Tian-ming (許添明) said that while they would be rushed for time, the ministry and publishers could establish a joint review system to speed up the process based on consensus among editors, members of the review committee and researchers.
The ministry could also allow publishers to send in material on a book-by-book basis, rather than demanding three years’ worth of books, as is usual, to reduce pressure on publishing companies, Sheu said.
The rush to implement the new curriculum could lead to errors in teaching materials, delays in students’ learning and other problems, Alliance on Obligatory Education director-general Wang Li-sheng (王立昇) said, adding that children should not be used as experimental subjects.
When the review for social studies subjects begins, controversies could delay the review process, National Parent Education Volunteer Association director-general Wu Fu-pin (吳福濱) said.
Rushing to implement the new curriculum guidelines could have adverse consequences, he added.
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