Monday, May 5, 2008

Assignment #21

Poet Yu Kwang-chung urges new gov't to save Mandarin

Poet Yu Kwang-chung asked the new KMT government to save the Chinese language yesterday.
Yu, a member of the National League for Saving Chinese, demanded that at least the teaching of Chinese classics, Confucian classics in particular, account for at least 55 percent of the Chinese lessons.

Yu urged Ma Ying-jeou, the president-elect, to cancel a new Chinese teaching program to give students a better chance to learn their mother tongue.

Starting the next school year, the new program will shorten the teaching of the Chinese language to four 50-minute sessions a week.

"We need at least five sessions a week to enable our students to acquire a better working command of the Chinese language," said Yu, who taught English and English literature at practically all prestigious universities in Taiwan.

The number of Chinese lessons in primary and junior high schools will be reduced to four a week. "It should be raised to at least five," said a member of the league.

Moreover, Yu said, primary schools participating in the nine-year integrated compulsory education program should offer 10 Chinese lessons a week.

"Junior high school participants in the program should give six lessons a week at the very least," Yu added.

The teaching of Chinese classics also helps in moral education, said Chang Hsiao-feng.

"As a matter of fact," Chang said, "Confucian classics teach ethics as well."

1.) Does Chinese need to be "saved"? Is it in trouble?

2.) Will more Chinese classes help students learn their mother tongue better?

3.) Why do you think the government has reduced the number of Chinese classes?

For the real article, see the China Post: