Speech by Vice Minister of Education Fan Sun-lu
Taiwan's education reform is a social movement resulted after democracy was taking root in Taiwan. In 1994, education reformists, intellectuals and many parents, along with their children, went on street, calling on the government to launch education reform. The Executive Yuan responded to the call and established the Commission on Education Reform.
Two years later, the commission released its General Report on Education Reform. At that time, the convener of the commission was Yuan-tseh Lee, President, Academia Sinica. Later, the Executive Yuan passed the recommendations proposed by the report to Ministry of Education. In 1998 after much research into and analysis of various policies, MOE released its Education Reform Action Plan. This five-year plan comprised 12 key policies and was set to complete at the end of 2003. To date, we have been on the course of education reform for nearly ten years. It can be said that the action plan was formulated with input from both the government and the private sectors.
The major appeals of the education reform were to make senior high schools and universities more accessible and develop teaching materials that were more closely linked to the modern society. It demanded that the needs for more democracy on campus be addressed, elementary education be decentralized, and democratic and pluralistic school environments be established. It was also hoped that parents' associations, communities, teachers' associations and administrative systems could work together as partners in the education system.
In the past ten years, we mostly followed the plan. Today, when we look back, we have made great progress by any measurable educational criterion. Education reform is a must in response to the challenges in the new era. We are now in a knowledge-based economy. Since our entry into WTO, we have faced competition from the global educational market. We need to enhance our national competitiveness. Our people, students and teachers alike, need to develop a world-view so as to be in line with international education standards. MOE also needs to make quick response to the changes of the time, helping Taiwan keep abreast with the world and presenting its excellent education based on past achievements.
More importantly, we don't give up on any child. The purpose of education is always to take care of every child in a way that fits him or her. Bearing this in mind, teacher education is extremely important. For this reason, providing teachers in-service training, as well as supporting their professional growth, has been one of the most important tasks in our education reform for the promotion of The New 1-9 Curriculum.
We also need to help parents to understand their role in education and what values we need in a new era. If social values do not change with the time, no country can move education reform forward smoothly. The reason lies in that adults who grow up with old values tend to see current education with past experience. However, the purpose of education is to develop talents for the future. That is why we need to communicate more constructively and frequently with the public, and lead the society as a whole to move forward at the same pace as education reform.