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September 20, 2017

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Review of 12-year program not yet started: MOE

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) yesterday denied local reports that the 12-year compulsory education program might be cut off because of lack of support from expert commissioners assembled by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

According to a local report, the curriculum guidelines for a 12-year compulsory education program scheduled to be announced this July could be postponed because half the commissioners in charge of reviewing courses demanded that the MOE take back the bill.

The MOE responded that the conferences to review the curriculum guidelines have not even been held yet, so the statements about sending the bill back to the MOE are not true.

Wang Tso-tai (王作臺), chief secretary of the MOE, said that the National Academy for Educational Research (NAER) has held over a dozen public hearings and over 20 meetings to organize the curriculum guidelines before proposing the bill for the compulsory education program by the end of this April.

However, Wang said that there were different voices coming from various fields as well as the NAER, so Chiang decided to hold conferences to review the curriculum guidelines in order to include more opinions, which is why the publication of the curriculum guidelines will be delayed.

"The publication of the curriculum guidelines might be postponed for one to two months, but the entire program is not cut off," said Wang.

He also said that the policy to carry out the 12-year compulsory education program in 2018 will remain the same.

NEAR Deputy Director Tseng Shih-chieh (曾世杰) said that the curriculum guidelines for the education program have been discussed by experts, and there were some experts who expressed strong opinions about them.

According to the NEAR, the major dispute about the curriculum guidelines for the 12-year compulsory education program is the decreased credits available for required courses like Chinese, English and math that will be exchanged for elective credits.

Tseng said that the main goal of the compulsory education program is to increase the number of elective credits so students can learn based on their interests. If we keep insisting on setting fixed required credits, Tseng said, it will make the education system just like the old program that did not take students' strengths and preferences into consideration.

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