Thu, Mar 21, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ministry called on to delay curriculum start date

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Alliance for Education Action president Wang Li-sheng points at a flowchart during a news conference organized by several education-related civic groups in Taipei yesterday to call for the release of new textbooks to be postponed.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

Teachers, parents and textbook publishers yesterday urged the Ministry of Education to postpone the implementation of its new curriculum guidelines for the 12-year compulsory education program for a year to ensure the quality of the textbooks.

While the ministry said on Tuesday that all textbooks based on the new curriculum guidelines would be ready before the fall semester begins in August, given the little time that publishers have to create them, it would be “impossible to ensure their quality,” Alliance for Education Action president Wang Li-sheng (王立昇) told a news conference.

When the ministry implemented new curriculums in 2006 and 2010, publishers and the National Academy for Educational Research always had two years to create and edit the new textbooks, he said.

However, this time, they only have seven months to complete them, as the ministry did not announce all of the guidelines until November last year, he said.

So far, only 15 percent of the textbooks have passed a governmental review, he added.

The implementation should be postponed a year so that publishers would have more time to create quality textbooks and the government could try them out in a pilot program before launching them, he said.

“When it comes to education, quality is always more important than speed. Children should not be treated as guinea pigs,” he added.

The government’s deadline of May is “impossible unless it instructs reviewers to lower the standard,” said Song Yu (宋裕), a chief editor at Han Lin Publishing responsible for junior and senior high schools’ Chinese textbooks.

The soonest that all the textbooks could be completed and approved is September, he said.

Scrambling to implement the new curriculum would risk “leaving 620,000 students without textbooks,” he said, adding that the ministry should consider postponing its plan.

Textbooks that are rushed out would neither meet the guidelines nor be better than the current ones, Chinese Language Promotion Association secretary-general Tuan Hsin-yi (段心儀) said.

The only thing that they would probably achieve is desinicization, she said.

“The new curriculum deleted Chinese history, made the Chinese culture textbooks disappear and decontextualized Chinese,” she said.

The ministry yesterday reiterated that the new curriculum’s implementation date is to remain unchanged, adding that the curriculum does not involve any desinicization.

The new Chinese textbooks aim to teach students diversity by emphasizing the interactive links between Taiwan, China and the world, it said.

Chinese culture is one of many cultures, and the new curriculum hopes to raise students’ awareness of local and global affairs, it said.

The National Academy for Educational Research on Monday said that it has received 470 textbooks from publishers and has reviewed 68 of them.

Although 357 are still being reviewed, most of them are undergoing their second or third review, it said.

Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan

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