The Ministry of Education has come under criticism for not revealing the names of the schools it found to have signed agreements with Chinese institutes to censor course material.
The ministry on Friday said it concluded an investigation into universities that have signed such documents with Chinese institutions, which found that 72 of the nation’s 157 tertiary institutions have signed agreements with their Chinese counterparts since cross-strait academic exchanges began in 2005.
The documents come in a variety of formats, with some adhering to the principles of academic freedom, some promising Chinese universities that courses would not touch on political issues, and others saying that the concept of “one China, one Taiwan” would be cut from course material, the ministry said.
National Taiwan University (NTU) sociology professor Fan Yun (范雲), who launched a petition to honor academic freedom after the documents surfaced, on Saturday said that the agreements signed by the universities to censor content should be elucidated and examined.
“Is NTU one of the 72 schools? Should we just keep guessing?” Fan asked.
She said the ministry’s failure to name the schools would only cause the public to doubt the ministry’s sincerity in addressing the issue.
Fan said she was not seeking punishment for the schools, adding that regardless of who was responsible for the agreements’ contents, the documents must be made public for the protection of academic freedom.
Taiwan Higher Education Union secretary-general Chen Cheng-liang (陳政亮) said that Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) earlier this month described the signing of the documents as “illegal” when Shih Hsin University was the only school known to have signed such an agreement.
The ministry had to backtrack after more schools were exposed, as it could not levy punishments against the presidents of all of the implicated schools, Chen said.
“They escalated the issue only to softly let it down,” Chen said, adding that Pan’s talk of taking action was “useless.”
Chen said the ministry harmed academic freedom in its “soft approach” to the issue, adding that the ministry, in effect, tacitly approved the universities’ actions.
It seems “any action is acceptable if it increases enrollment,” Chen said.
Chen Pang-an (陳邦安), head of student group Yellqing at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, criticized the ministry’s lack of resolve in levying punishment to the schools, saying that university presidents must be “beside themselves with joy.”
Chen Pang-an also criticized Pan for accusing the media of blowing the issue out of proportion.
“The failure to stand firm at a critical moment proves that Taiwanese officials have no courage,” Chen Pang-an said, adding that the group was disappointed in Pan and the Democratic Progressive Party.
Chen Pang-an said it is imperative that the list of universities and the content of the agreements they signed be made public, adding that the schools must be held responsible for signing the agreements.
“Why should the ministry help the schools? Did the two sides have some kind of arrangement?” Chen Pang-an asked.
Former National Tsing Hua University Students’ Association president Hsu Guangcheng (徐光成) said the details of the agreements must be made public to “allow the public to examine and discuss their contents, to understand the boundaries of student exchanges with China.”
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
TECH PROGRAM: A US official said that an important part of the delegation’s trip would be to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co executives The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday. Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year. “As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number