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New Taipei City says 'no' to special exams

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday criticized the 12-year compulsory education program, saying that the policy has gone in the wrong direction. He announced that New Taipei City will cancel the special high school admissions exam next year so that students can sign up for schools at the end of June after the first Comprehensive Assessment Program.

Chu emphasized that he has discussed the issue with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌). He hopes and believes that Hau will try to make some changes in the same direction. However, at this stage, Chu wants to put an end to mistakes caused by the new educational policy for students in New Taipei City.

Chu attended a meeting of high school principals yesterday. At the meeting, he pointed out that it is unfair and cruel for students as well as parents to wait in an atmosphere of anxiety for such a long time and get their results in mid-August.

He continued by saying that the policy is obviously opposed to the original ideas behind the 12-year education program, which should reduce the stress of the admissions exam. Although this program aims to create a more relaxing learning experience for our kids, it has already been proven ineffective through the reactions of students during the past year.

“Even though some people may be too stubborn to admit their mistakes and may not want to amend the policy, it will never stay in effect in New Taipei City,” said Chu.

In addition, he also said he feels sorry that the policy caused trouble for students and parents who had to face the pressure of the new program this year. He thinks that the government should take action as soon as possible to modify the mistakes.

Chu further stated that the decision had been made after various discussions between the education bureau and many school principals.

New Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) yesterday stated that he feels positive about Chu's decision to call off the special high school admissions exam next year.

Wu pointed out that the special high school admissions exam was originally designed for students who perform well in the academic field. However, if local governments think that they can reach the same goal without this exam, it is their right to cancel this project.

“The final goal of the Ministry of Education (MOE) is to reduce and simplify the admissions exam. Therefore, we are happy to see that Chu is willing to cancel the exam,” he said.

As for the next step for Taipei City and Keelung City, which are in the same school district as New Taipei City, Wu pointed out that every local government has the right to decide their admissions program. Therefore, it is possible to negotiate a new program that meets the needs of the situation.

In addition, Wu also mentioned that there are many other local governments considering canceling the special exam. In response, the MOE is now planning various projects to meet the need for possible changes in the future.

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Lin Yi-hua (林奕華), commissioner of the Department of Education, Taipei City Government, second right, said yesterday that the central government should reflect on the 12-year education system first so that local governments can modify the policy if so needed in the future. (CNA)

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