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Protesters call for transparency in review of curriculum guidelines

2015/07/05 22:44

Taipei, July 5 (CNA) More than 100 protesters gathered in front of the Taipei office of the K-12 Education Administration under the Ministry of Education Sunday, calling for transparency in the review of curriculum guidelines and voicing their strong opposition to any secretive acts to revise the guidelines.

The rally was staged by the Northern Taiwan High Schools Alliance against Curriculum Guideline and several high school associations and student groups to protest the administration's recent move to ask "district organizations" countrywide to hold conferences for a review to high school curriculum guidelines.

Some student protesters complained that the conferences were opened only to members of the organizations and "strictly prohibited students outside the organizations from participation."

The protesters said curriculum guidelines are an educational issue, which should be subjected to public oversight. The education administration should not set any barriers to attending the conferences discussing curriculum guidelines.

Urging the administration to withdraw the curriculum guidelines that have been "slightly modified" since President Ma Ying-jeou assumed the office in 2008, Chu Chen (朱震), spokesman of the anti-curriculum guideline alliance, demanded a response from the authorities by July 10.

There will be more and stronger protests if their demand is not met before the deadline, Chu said.

The protesters then marched to the Ministry of Education where they folded a letter to the minister into a paper plane before hurling it into the building.

Similar protests were also staged simultaneously in Taichung and Tainan, with the activists blasting the revisions of high school curriculum guidelines over the past few years -- mostly to the curriculum of history.

They said as a result of the revisions, the contents that would have helped students truly learn about Taiwan have been reduced.

A protester, Nan Chiang Industrial and Commercial High School sophomore Wu Fu-jung (巫馥容), said they cannot accept an account of Taiwan history presented from the perspective of "Chinese unification."

In a statement for the protests, the K-12 Education Administration said it respects the opinions of students, and will adopt both old and new textbooks in high school courses in the 2015 academic year that starts in September.

The administration also called for students to express their opinions in a rational and peaceful manner and to respect those with different voices.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Elizabeth Hsu)ENDITEM/sc