Debate on history textbooks in Taiwan: 8 (from Taipei Times, in English)

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‘De-Taiwanization’ of school materials slammed by DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 29, 2014

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it refused to accept the “opaquely adjusted” high-school curriculum outlines for Chinese literature and social sciences announced by the Ministry of Education on Monday.

“The adjustment of curricula outlines is a ‘de-Taiwanization’ effort that is trying to instill students with a ‘Greater China’ historical perspective. The DPP will not accept such an opaque process,” DPP Policy Research Committee executive director Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a press conference.

The party demanded that the ministry make public a complete list of the members on its curriculum outlines adjustment task force, Wu said, adding that the records and documents of all the task force’s meetings should be included, Wu said.

The ministry on Monday formally approved a new high-school curriculum on Chinese literature and the social sciences that it said contained “slight adjustments” based on the Constitution, amid intense protests by historians and pro-Taiwan supporters who said the move was part of a “brainwashing” policy that would see the new curriculum reflect a more China-oriented perspective.

Among the approved changes were calling the era of Tokyo’s rule of Taiwan the “Japanese colonial period” and referring to “China” as “Mainland China” in textbooks.

“It was not a slight adjustment, but a total overhaul which attempts to change students’ overview of sovereignty and territory, as well as their historical perspective,” Wu said.

According to the ministry, the changes are based on the 12-year national education system, which is set to be implemented in August, and is aimed at improving continuity between textbooks for junior-high and senior-high schools.

After reviewing the material designed for literature and social sciences, the ministry said it would look over health and physical education curricula in its next effort.