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MOE to invite local gov'ts to mull adding more non-test slots

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday said it will invite cities and counties across the country to discuss the possibility of increasing the number of slots that do not require taking the exams for high school enrollment.

Following recent concerns raised by parents of junior high school students over the 12-year compulsory education program, the MOE yesterday evening released a press statement to explain its position.

The ministry said one of the aims in launching the 12-year national education system is to ease pressure on students who must take the examinations, noting that every year it will hold cross-country examinations for the senior students at junior high schools.

The MOE further explained that instead of revealing specific details about the test results, the junior high school students' test results will be divided into three levels of “A,” “B,” and “C” only. Level A stands for “excellence,” B stands for “average” and C stands for “below average,” the ministry added.

The ministry said, however, that there have been concerns over the procedures to satisfy the students' selection of high schools and controversy about the requirement of writing a good essay in order to get into famous high schools.

The Education Ministry said one of the key issues that raised concerns is that several high schools will not let go of their preference for admitting students who get high scores on examinations.

The ministry went on to explain that the number of slots every high school reserves for students who do not need to take examinations should be increased. Noting that currently the MOE demands that every high school release 25 percent of total admission for examination-free students, the ministry said it will discuss the possibility of raising the percentage every year.

New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) during the city's weekly meeting said that this is the first time the government held an examination of the 12-year national education system, however, this major change in the education system has caused a great challenge for both the students and their parents.

Chu said that not just the students and parents but all the teachers are facing great difficulties. Chu said he expects that there might be more problems after the test results are revealed on May 20.

The mayor went on to say that the nation has been through several major changes in its education program, noting that all previous versions of Taiwan's formal education system claimed to have no exams for students and yet the students still had to take exams. Chu said such a complicated education system makes him feel as if he does not understand Chinese.

Taichung City Councilor Hsieh Chih-chung (謝志忠) during an interpellation session at the city council said that he spent a lot of time assisting his son in understanding the 12-year national education system and filling out the choice to select schools.

Hsieh said the education system confuses many students and parents across the country, noting that all he could do was ask his son to go to a temple and ask God to give him a direction.

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