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June 25, 2017

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Minister apologizes for 12-year compulsory education confusion

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) yesterday apologized for the dispute and confusion caused by the launch of 12-year compulsory education program and promised to take care of the issue actively.

After a series of disputes regarding the new high school enrollment measure broke out recently, Chiang responded to for the first time yesterday during a summit at New Taipei City Hall.

"I feel really sorry and embarrassed about all the issues caused by the new high school enrollment that is part of the 12-year compulsory education program," said Chiang. "I will urge the Ministry of Education (MOE) to completely review the program closely."

According to Chiang, the initial idea of the design to let students prioritize the high schools that they wish to attend was to allow students to choose their schools based on their interests and academic aptitudes.

"However, it caused confusion and troubles for students and parents since there are some areas where competition is intense for students, so the MOE will review the program again in order to fix the problems," said Chiang.

New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said on Tuesday 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 talked to Chiang face to face yesterday regarding these issues, and he proposed some solutions to the problems, including whether or not the cross-country exam should exist.

According to Chu, after this first nationwide exam for junior high school seniors, it is necessary to review this measure before the second national exam is carried next year.

Some parents showed up at the summit yesterday, yelling at Chiang over the issues caused by the launch of the 12-year compulsory education program. After Chiang made his apology regarding these issues, a parent yelled back that apologies cannot relieve the anxiety that students are feeling now.

Head of K-12 Education Administration Apologizes

The head of the MOE's K-12 Education Administration Wu Chin-shan (吳清山) also apologized yesterday for the insecurity and confusion caused by the 12-year compulsory education program.

Wu said that as the execution department that is in charge of the 12-year compulsory education program, the K-12 Education Administration has to be responsible for all the inconvenience caused by any policies it made and carried out.

When asked if Chiang should also be responsible for this dispute, Wu said that no one is more familiar with the 2-year compulsory education program than Chiang does, and Chiang has put in a great amount of efforts into this new education program.

According to Wu, the key to the success of this new education program is that all high schools, including the traditional elite schools, have to release slots that do not require taking the exams for high school enrollment.

Wu said that it will also require cooperation from local governments to make this new education program a success.

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