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Chiang says he will bear brunt for education chaos

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) yesterday told a press conference that he will bear the responsibility for controversies over high school enrollment issues, noting, however, that the most important thing to do at the moment is to assist the students in settling down into their high schools after the school enrollment results are revealed on June 20.

This is the first year the government has carried out a cross-nation examination for high school enrolment — part of the newly launched 12-year national education program — however, as the MOE granted every local city and county the right to adopt various methods of evaluating the students' performances, confusion and anxiety emerged among parents and students.

Chiang on Wednesday apologized for the confusing methods of high school enrollment and was invited to report on the progress of the 12-year education program to Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) during the Cabinet's weekly meeting yesterday.

Chiang to Claim

Responsibility Later

The head of the MOE's K-12 Education Administration, Wu Chin-shan (吳清山), on Wednesday also apologized for the insecurity and confusion caused by the 12-year compulsory education program. Wu said his administration has to be held accountable for the inconvenience caused by any policies it made and carried out.

In response to Wu's remarks, Chiang, during the press conference at the Executive Yuan yesterday, said “the responsibility lies with me,” noting, however, that it is not the time to discuss who should be held accountable, as the focus should be on solving issues for the sake of students as soon as possible.

Chiang went on to say that the MOE will work on solving the problems with local cities and counties, adding that they will listen to the opinions put forward by students, parents and experts regarding high school enrollment. The minister said the MOE will review every district's high school enrollment requirements to see if there are any “inappropriate” designs.

The minister said the MOE will complete the reviews and make adjustments before August 1.

Noting that this is the first year of the country's 12-year national education program, Chiang said that although the program encountered numerous difficulties, the key is to solve those problems and make a big step.

Chiang said that after the issues are solved, the MOE will definitely review the roles of the ministry and local cities and counties in the education program.

“There is no doubt that we will discuss who should be held accountable over the high school enrollment issue,” Chiang said, adding, “you have my word.”

During the Cabinet meeting, Jiang said it is expected that the new education program will make parents and students anxious, noting that the MOE should setup hotlines for parents and students for consultation purposes.

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Parents and members of the Alliance on Obligatory Education (AOE,國教行動聯盟) are seen in this photograph taken in Taipei, yesterday. The AOE and 10 other civic groups yesterday afternoon jointly held a press conference demanding the government amend the current high school enrollment procedures. (CNA)

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