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MOE loses suit over revised high school texts

MOE loses suit over revised high school texts

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has lost a court case brought by activists who accused it of using a ‘black-box’ approach to carry out revisions of high school textbooks for history and civics in 2014. The plaintiffs, who included the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, argued that the MOE had deliberately kept discussions and information regarding the changes under wraps to conceal the fact that it was trying to squeeze “Taiwanese” aspects out of the texts.

The Taipei High Court ruled against the MOE, and Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa said afterwards that he would have to read through the verdict before making a decision on whether to appeal. He said the MOE will eventually explain the matter in full to the public.

Students in Taiwan generally receive their textbooks for the school year in August. Wu told reporters that the court’s decision will not affect the curriculum for the coming school year.

Wu also addressed other points in the ruling, such as a demand that the MOE release the contents of course outlines as well as the minutes of key meetings in the approval process for the latest textbooks. He said the minutes of a meeting held January 27, 2014, in connection with the textbooks was released by the MOE on the following February 27 so that the public would be up to date and informed on how the 12-year education system is being implemented and the current status of development of textbooks for the next school term.

The MOE noted that in accordance with Article 18, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Government Information Disclosure Law, it had redacted portions of the minutes that it felt might affect the ability or willingness of participants to speak out in future meetings if they were revealed to the public. The MOE said that publishing every detail of the meeting might lead to unnecessary criticism of the various views held by different members of the review board.
The MOE stressed that its publication of the minutes for the meeting included a list of members of the board and the names of participants in the meeting. The ministry said its publication included all relevant data and comments from the meeting.

The MOE added that former Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling appeared at the Legislative Yuan on March 6, 2014, to present an ad hoc report on course outlines for the next academic year. He noted areas where specific revisions had been made in response to the needs of both teachers and students as well as relevant procedures and professional reviews that were followed in the process of revising the texts. The ministry pointed out that all steps in revising and publishing the texts were in line with the Constitution and also took into account the latest trends in society in Taiwan as well as in the international arena. He added that correction of errors and other vetting procedures were consistent with the basic outlines for the various courses and were entirely in line with democratic procedures and the highest professional principles.

Updated : 2021-09-29 03:28 GMT+08:00