Taiwan minister and students to meet today

Taiwan minister and students to meet today
Activists march with placards that read "fix the disputed curriculum" during a demonstration by Taiwanese students and activists against the island's China-centric curriculum changes, in Taipei on August 2, 2015.
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan - As the anti-curriculum guideline protest drags on at the Ministry of Education (MOE), Education Minister Wu Se-hwa offered a sit-down talk with student protestors today, which may be broadcast live.

The anti-curriculum students announced late yesterday that they have agreed to meet Wu at the National Central Library at 2 p.m., a time and place picked by the MOE. The students, however, reiterated their calls for the MOE to scrap the curriculum guidelines that took effect Aug. 1 and for Wu to resign.

Seven student representatives and three teachers will attend the meeting, the students said, adding that they were still coordinating with the MOE about how the event should be broadcast.

Earlier there was confusion over the nature of the negotiations between the MOE and the protesters over the meeting.

According to the MOE, the negotiations were coordinated by Taichung City Deputy Mayor Tsai Bing-kun, the former principal of National Taichung First Senior High School. The MOE also said that the school's student body, the Appletree Commune, have agreed to participate in the scheduled meeting.

The Appletree Commune, however, disputed the MOE's description, saying in a statement that while they were contacted by the MOE via Tsai, they have not yet agreed to meet with Wu. The students said they wished to meet at an earlier time and at a place closer to the MOE.

Wang Chun-chuan, the chief secretary of the Education Ministry, said that with the student demonstrators' approval, the meeting will be broadcast online and the minister will field questions from the media after the event.

Special Legislative Session

The Legislature will hold a meeting on Aug. 4 and deliberate on whether to convene a special session on curriculum guidelines. Wang from the MOE said the ministry would be happy to see a workable solution tendered by the Legislature.

Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen concurred yesterday, noting that holding a special session is the best solution to the current dilemma.

Parties across the political spectrum should confront the issue together and hash out a resolution to put an end to the controversy, Tsai said to the press.

Tsai welcomed Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu's support for holding a special session, and she expressed her hope that Chu would be resolute enough to see it through.

Five University Presidents Support Education Ministry

Five university presidents held a joint press conference yesterday, stating that the MOE's proposal to allow the implementation of both old and revised curriculum guidelines per teachers' discretion is sound practice.

The presidents of Chung Yuan Christian University, Tatung University, Chinese Culture University, Shih Chien University and China University of Technology said that while they approve of the enthusiasm the student protestors have shown, they condemn the "unlawful and disorderly behaviours" adopted.

The students have demonstrated their inspiration and courage, but to go against the democratic process is not appropriate, the presidents said.

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