Control Yuan sets rules for future examinations

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mon, Sep 20, 2004 - Page 2

The questions on future national examinations for civil servants will not reflect examiners' political ideology, nor will they be based on Hoklo, Hakka or Aboriginal languages, the Examination Yuan has decided.

Questions will not discriminate on racial or sexual grounds, nor will they test on classical Chinese composition or literature.

The Control Yuan yesterday ended a year-long controversy surrounding the national examinations for civil servants after the Examination Yuan pledged that future national examinations would be fair and steer clear of bias by following a "four noes" principle reflecting these points.

Examiners will also be advised to note the proportion of Taiwan-centered questions in national geography and history tests.

The Examination Yuan's resolution was reached during a review meeting in September last year and was later approved in a plenary session.

The changes came in response to a controversy over the use of Hoklo-language questions on Chinese literature tests and over the number of Taiwan-centered questions on history and geography tests in four national exams offered last year.

Although the passages in the tests were written in Chinese characters, they make sense only to speakers of Hoklo, more commonly known as Taiwanese.

The questions prompted pan-blue lawmakers, most of whom are of mainland Chinese descent, to claim the exams were biased. The questions also angered the Hakka community, as their language is spoken by one-fifth of the population.

Seeking to placate the Hakka minority, the Examination Yuan adjusted one of the four national examinations by adding points to Hakka candidates' exam scores.

The move came after a visit by former Council for Hakka Affairs Chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) to Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) to express her opposition to Hoklo-language questions appearing in the national examination.

Calling such questions unfair and unconstitutional, People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) took the case to the Control Yuan and requested an investigation into the dispute.

She also asked the Control Yuan to determine whether it was acceptable that Taiwan's geography and history dominated questions in the tests, since current textbooks do not reflect this focus.

The Control Yuan report released in June called it unfair for the Examination Yuan to test candidates on a particular dialect, and said this had harmed examinees.