Taipei-Keelung area education plan to be scrapped

By Yuan-Ming Chiao ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei City’s Department of Education yesterday announced that a joint draft plan created for Taipei, New Taipei and Keelung slated for use for the 2016 school year would not be implemented. An alternative strongly pushed by many Taipei district parents may be put in place, with that plan calling for next year’s enrollment to be determined using measures that have historically been provided by the Ministry of Education (MOE). A lack of consensus among the three Northern Taiwan regions was cited for the reason that the plan, called the ��216 Plan,�� was ultimately rejected. Last year, rules were put into place that would admit students if school enrollment quotas were not able to accommodate all applicants. The complicated ranking scheme for incoming high school students is based upon a series of performance scores for each student in various fields and levels earned on the Comprehensive Assessment Program (CAP). Previously, the education departments of Taipei, New Taipei and Keelung had planned to implement the ��216 Plan,�� which would put greater weight on the CAP scores in the ranking process. Although it was defended by the three governments at the time for maintaining local autonomy and fairness in allocating students, its critics say that the ��three-tiers, four-symbols�� delineation system �X which grades students by A, B, C, and then increments in between �X waters down the precision of the ranking method and disadvantages students who are not from elite schooling backgrounds. Parents against the plan rallied outside the Taipei City Government yesterday demanding that measures be confirmed.

Department of education officials in Taipei City indicated that a meeting between mayors Ko Wen-je (�_����) and Eric Chu (���߭�) earlier in the week created an agreement under which conditions for this year’s publication of examinees on July 3 will be noted and considered for the next school year. Both mayors concluded that if residents find the system suitable, it will be used next year. Should it be deemed unsatisfactory, changes will be implemented.

While the MOE had agreed to provide statistical information for Taipei for its rankings methods up to this year, there are currently no plans in place for it to continue providing statistics beyond 2015. MOE officials had deemed this the task of local education agencies. It had also encouraged local city and county governments to conduct special exams in order to better gauge and categorize gifted students. It is unclear whether the MOE will accede to demands to provide data that would allow a measuring meter to be constructed.

The Department of Education Commissioner Tang Chih-min (���ӥ�) said that if parents find this year’s policy to be sound, it will work to obtain the measuring meters from the MOE.