Curriculum council rejects roster publication
The curriculum review committee ( ), behind the recent student protests surrounding changes to Taiwan’s high school history curriculum, has decided not to publically release a roster of its members, it said yesterday.
Agreeing to the possibility of releasing the names of the committee members was part of a plan proposed by Education Minister Wu Se-hua ( ) to mollify angry students who had occupied por- tions of the MOE while demanding his resignation over changes to the guidelines. Ten days after a promise was made by Wu to protesting students regarding the roster, the Ministry of Education (MOE) stated that of the 43 members of the committee, 27 (62.7 percent) rejected moves to publicize the roster while the remaining 16 agreed.
In an evening press release, the MOE stated that it “fully respected the decision due to the majority of committee members not agreeing to the publication of the roster.” The MOE added that such practice was consistent with past policies, in which the committee roster was only released after the printing of the most recent curriculum guidelines. Officials maintain that keeping the roster secret is a measure taken to protect committee members from possible obstruction and maintain their right to privacy.
Wu had said that since the committee members were informed previously that their statements in meetings would not be made public, transcripts of the meetings during the guideline adjustments would not be released. He indicated that efforts in the future may move in the direction of publication.
The ministry stated that the roster is expected to be released in the first half of 2016.
Wang Ping-chen, who participated in the student protests found the decision to be “very disappointing.” She added however that the roster was not the most criti- cal aspect, but rather the meeting agenda and transcripts. Wu singled out a meeting on Jan. 25 of this year chaired by Taipei City Department of Education head Tang chi-min ( ) as an important source of information.
The MOE added that it was “proactively communicating” with members of the committee in order to conduct negotiations with party caucuses in the legislature. An evaluation of the curriculum guidelines, in which students have been invited to participate in, is slated to begin at the end of the month.
Students protesters last month demanded “minor adjustments” made to high school history curriculum be withheld, accusing the government of a “black box operation” in tilting history favoring what they deemed “China-centric.” As a compromise to end the strife earlier this month, the MOE will allow both new and old curriculum guidelines to remain available to schools.