MOE says schools can choose textbook
Education Minister Wu offered to step down, but was rejected
Schools will be able to “freely choose” textbooks for this school year, the Education Ministry announced yesterday after negotiators of both the ruling and opposition parties reached a compromise.
Negotiations between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at the Legislative Yuan reached a consensus, with the Ministry of Education ( MOE) agreeing to hold a new curriculum review committee to address the guidelines, while letting schools freely choose textbooks in the meantime.
During the negotiations, Education Minister Wu Se-hwa (
) offered to step down, but legislators in attendance said that was not a solution.
Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng- chiao ( ), ad- dressing the KMT caucus after the afternoon meeting, stated that the new committee would “address demands on curriculum reforms from all sides,” and stricter guidelines would be implemented for the membership of the committee, the procedures for reviewing the curriculum and a professional exchange of ideas.”
Student demonstrator Liao Chung-lun ( ) stated that their bottom line is to see the curriculum delayed. “This is the most we will decide on, therefore we are not considering backing out as of now,” Liao stated.
A member of the Appletree Commune ( ) , Hsiao Chu- chun ( ), implored that the new curriculum review committee should be made completely public, including “ideologies and professional suggestions.”
“There’s no reason to not let students join in the discus- sions,” opined Liao.
The DPP caucus, which had called for an extra legislative session prior to yesterday’s cross-party negotiations, agreed to withdraw their previous proposal to hold an extra session. The KMT unanimously shot down the proposal during its own caucus meeting.
DPP spokesman Ruan Jhaosyong ( ) stated that the MOE was irresponsible to say that schools can teach using either the old or new version of the textbooks.
“There are not enough of the 2012 curriculum textbooks on the market,” Ruan stated, and publishers have also stopped printing that version of the textbooks as well, since the controversial new curriculum’s announcement last February.
To guarantee each school the right to freely choose their desired textbook, the DPP stated their demands: firstly, the Cabinet should order that the 2012 curriculum textbooks be republished; second, it should allocate the funding to reprint the textbooks; third, county magistrates should back the above plans to the Cabinet this week, and fourth, local governments nationwide should guarantee the “freedom of textbook selection” for schools.
Hung Troubled by Protests
Deputy Legislative Speaker and KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu- chu called on the MOE to drop charges against minors involved in the nighttime break-in of the MOE on July 24.
KMT Legislator and caucus secretary-general Lin Te-fu (
) had harsh words for DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, saying that her early-morning visit to the protest site was an attempt to “reap the harvest” of the curriculum reform debate.
In response to Tsai visiting the protesters, Hung said that she was troubled that the situation had played out as it had and that it was the role of adults and experts to solve the controversy over the curriculum guidelines. The KMT candidate expressed her interest in sitting down with Tsai to discuss the issue or holding an open debate with her. Tsai has yet to reply as of press time.
The KMT caucus claimed that 58.9 percent of those polled between Aug. 1 and 2 opposed the “encircling by protesters of the MOE building in order to oppose minor adjustments to the curriculum guidelines.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators hold up signs with slogans calling for cross-party cooperation in delaying the problematic curriculum, and “letting the children go home,” at the Legislative Yuan. The Education Ministry agreed to hold a new curriculum review committee meeting and let schools freely choose whatever textbook to use, based on the results of the cross-party negotiations.