Stu­dent protesters pull out of MOE, Cab­i­net urges ed­u­ca­tion neutrality

Two cur­ricu­lums are im­pos­si­ble: MOE

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

The anti-cur­ricu­lum change stu­dent protesters ended their seven-day demon­stra­tion in the court­yard of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion (MOE), last night af­ter a cer­e­mony held in mem­ory of the protest spokesper­son who al­legedly killed him­self on July 30.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive stated that while they will pull out of the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry’s court­yard, the anti-cur­ricu­lum change move­ment has not ended. Apart from their plans to con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor the school text­book se­lec­tion process na­tion­wide, they will also con­tinue their work back home. “This is not the end,” the stu­dents said.

In other de­vel­op­ments, Deputy Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Lin Tengchiao ( ) also stated that ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions, “it is im­pos­si­ble for two cur­ricu­lums to co-ex­ist,” and said that the fi­nal ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the party cau­cuses were based upon “one cur­ricu­lum and mul­ti­ple ver­sions of text­books.”

Lin’s re­sponse came af­ter de­mands from Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party-ruled spe­cial mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that the MOE rein­tro­duce the 2012 cur­ricu­lum, which is now re­ferred to as the “old cur­ricu­lum.”

Ed­u­ca­tion Re­quires Neutrality

Reg­u­la­tions to avoid fu­ture cur­ricu­lum de­bates might come in the form of an “Ed­u­ca­tion Neutrality Law,” ( ) sug­gested by Premier Mao Chi-kuo ( ) dur­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing.

Mao hopes to see un­bi­ased ed­u­ca­tion ma­te­rial reg­u­lated un­der such a law. When asked about that laws would cover, Cab­i­net Spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (

) stated that the premier’s sug­ges­tion is “ba­si­cally an idea,” and he hopes to see an ex­change of ideas in the ini­tial stages.

The premier also ad­mit­ted that the ad­min­is­tra­tive sec­tors have much to “learn, re­vise and im­prove,” and hopes to see neutrality im­ple­mented in ed­u­ca­tion. “This will be­come a his­tor­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion made by these young peo­ple,” Sun said, quot­ing Mao’s words.

As to who will foot the bill for reprint­ing text­book ex­penses, Sun re­but­ted both Kaoh­si­ung Mayor Chen Chu ( ) and Tainan City Mayor Wil­liam Lai’s ( ) claims, say­ing that the premier only gave in­struc­tions to the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry to “un­der­stand and han­dle the sit­u­a­tion ac­cord­ingly.” Chen stated in an in­ter­view that “Premier Mao gave a pos­i­tive re­sponse, say­ing that the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion will foot the bill for the reprinted books.”

Dis­agree­ments on who will foot the bill for the text­book ex­penses sur­faced af­ter Chen and Lai vis­ited the Cab­i­net meet­ing. Both mag­is­trates de­manded that the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry should cover the costs de­rived from the schools re­pur­chas­ing text­books.

So far, only Taipei City an­nounced its will­ing­ness to han­dle the ex­penses in­curred from con­tract breaches.

Lin elab­o­rated on the is­sue of text­book fund­ing af­ter the Cab­i­net meet­ing, stat­ing that the min­istry will weigh in on pro­vid­ing nec­es­sary as­sis­tance af­ter talks with schools and text­book pub­lish­ers, as more costs will be in­curred from breached con­tracts be­tween the schools and pub­lish­ers.

Talks with pub­lish­ers will end be­fore the end of Au­gust, while Lin sug­gested hold­ing off dis­cus­sions with schools un­til the end of Septem­ber, when schools have fi­nal­ized their new text­book se­lec­tions.

“Schools usu­ally fin­ish text­book se­lec­tion in May and June, while stu­dents get their text­books af­ter school be­gins. Re­gard­less whether the new or old cur­ricu­lum is cho­sen, stu­dents will still need to pay the fees for a sin­gle book,” Lin stated. “But pub­lish­ers will see costs in­curred from chang­ing text­books.”

CNA

An anti-cur­ricu­lum stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive an­nounces the group’s with­drawal from the court­yard of the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry yesterday, where stu­dents protesters demon­strated for seven days. The rep­re­sen­ta­tive stated that the ac­tivists will con­tinue to watch over school text­book se­lec­tion and con­tinue pro­mot­ing the move­ment at home.

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