Back to list

Classical Chinese to make up 35-45 percent of high school curriculum

2017/09/23 22:15:21

Photo courtesy of Ministry of Education

Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) The Ministry of Education (MOE) has decided that classical Chinese will account for 35-45 percent of the Chinese language curriculum at senior high schools in Taiwan from 2019, after discussion divided along party lines.

At the end of two rounds of voting, the MOE's curriculum review council settled on classical Chinese taking up 35-45 percent of Chinese language courses in public high schools, a 10 percentage point reduction from an earlier proposal made by the National Academy for Educational Research.

Speaking to CNA, both Democratic Progressive Party legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and Kuomingtang (KMT) legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) expressed regret over the decision, though for different reasons.

According to Kuan, the amount of classical Chinese taught at schools will still be more than vernacular Chinese once basic cultural lessons are factored in. She had supported 40 percent classical Chinese as offering a more balanced language curriculum, with a 50-50 divide between classical and vernacular Chinese. Instead the MOE opted for 45 percent of teaching hours devoted to classical Chinese.

Nonetheless, Kuan said she respects the council's decision, recalling a time when she was a student and classical Chinese dominated the curriculum.

In contrast, Ko said that the percentage dedicated to classical Chinese was too low. The initial decision earlier this month was 45-55 percent for classical Chinese, but due to procedural issues, there was a re-vote, she noted.

She said that the re-vote had come about as a result of politics, not professional educational issues and expressed concern at the future of education in Taiwan if political considerations come to dominate.

(By Justin Su and Kuan-lin Liu)