Ma pledges to enhance cultural, educational focus

The China Post

By Grace Soong–President Ma Ying-jeou announced goals to expand the National Palace Museum and to exempt junior high students from high school entrance exams within the coming ten years, yesterday.

As part of his “Golden Decade” vision, Ma pledged to promote and enhance Taiwan’s cultural and educational focus by completing the southern branch of the National Palace Museum by 2014, and promoting expansion plans for the Taipei branch.

The plan, which not only allows for physically expanding the area of the museum, also involves a digital upgrade of the method through which the national treasures will be exhibited. The expanded museum will be five times its current size, and many of the Museum collections that had been rarely seen due to preservation purposes will be digitalized and more frequently available to visitors.

So that Taiwan would gain more international acknowledgement, through which support for the nation would follow, Ma announced that the government would plant eight more cultural centers around the world, in addition to the currently existing three located in New York, Paris, and Tokyo. Taiwan’s cultural diplomacy shall be greatly enhanced, he said.

Collaborating with private organizations, the government will also establish 14 “Taiwan Colleges” (台灣書院) abroad to promote Taiwan’s unique achievements of fusing the traditional with the modern and raise international awareness of Taiwan’s potential, Ma said.

Taiwanese society has been evolving and its industries revolutionizing, he pointed out, predicting that the importance of cultural, traditional, and aesthetic experiences and resources will definitely be more emphasized in future societies. Taiwan has been the leader of the Chinese popular culture market, and Ma vowed to continue Taiwan’s lead through integrating the traditional values and the innovative power of liberty his government will take advantage of.

Majority to be Exempt from High School Entrance Exam in 10 years: Ma For the purpose of reducing the unfairness people face in the society due to educational discrepancies, as well as so that Taiwan’s competitiveness would rise, the government has detailed concrete plans to promote 12-year compulsory education, Ma announced yesterday. Within 10 years of the implementation of the 12-year compulsory education, the government hopes to increase the percentage of high school and professional school students who attend schools within close proximity of their residences from 65 to over 90, so as to save the commuting time for students to study.

Also, in the ten years following the implementation of the compulsory education program, 85 percent of high school and professional school students will no longer have to go through entrance exams to receive further education, except to enter the few schools that might preserve the entrance exam culture as their characteristics, Ma pledged.

Once students are free from the examination stereotype, they should be able to more voluntarily choose what to learn, while educators could provide a broader array of knowledge. This will guarantee the creativity, innovation, and confidence of Taiwan’s generations to come, Ma said.