Groups unhappy at plans to draw lots for school places

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 - Page 4

Parents’ associations and civic groups yesterday urged the Ministry of Education not to allow students to be assigned to schools by the drawing of lots in the new 12-year compulsory education program.

“How can we teach the next generation that only hard work pays?” Alliance on Obligatory Education convener Wang Li-sheng (王立昇) asked, adding that the drawing of lots for students of similar ability would not only be unfair, but also against the spirit of developing students’ abilities and interests.

He said a poll by the Taipei Teachers’ Association showed that up to 89 percent of teachers and 64 percent of parents were against the drawing lots to assign schools.

Chen Tieh-hu (陳鐵虎), chairman of a national association of senior high school students’ parents, said the drawing of lots would mean that students’ futures would be decided on luck, “and if the ministry does not come up with better mechanisms, it may lead to students being unwilling to study harder.”

Students should not become the “lab rats” of an unclear education policy, he said.

Expressing concern over plans for the 12-year compulsory education program that is scheduled to begin next year, the groups accused the ministry of implementing it too quickly with measures not fully planned out.

Taipei High School Parents’ Association Union chairperson Chao Hsiao-lung (趙筱瓏) said that curriculum guidelines for the program have yet to be determined, “so the school administration and teachers still face uncertainties about the new program.”

The groups urged the ministry to put forward more supplementary measures to ease concerns.

In response, the ministry restated that its goal is to avoid the use of lot-drawing as much as possible. It said planning for the 12-year compulsory education program was at an advanced stage and it would be introduced in August next year, as scheduled.