Sunday, December 25, 2016

Negligence or ignorance?

Dressing in black tunics and black boots, brandishing swastika flags, and saluting “Sieg Heil”, all were marching in led by a cardboard-made Tiger tank. This was not an annual Nazi party rally in Nuremberg. This happened a few days ago in Hsinchu, Taiwan, in a school-sanctioned parade. The parade was a part of the school day activities held by a private high school.

When photos of this event first appeared on media followed by public criticism, the school authorities, not realizing that things had gone wrong, downplayed it as merely a “demonstration of creativity” and said the students were not showing support for Nazis.

Only until when the representatives of Israel and Germany condemned such open display of the symbols belonging to the murderers of Holocaust, President Tsai’s Office showed grave concerns over this matter, and the Ministry of Education threatened to cut down government subsidies and revoked the “quality school” citation as punishment, the school knew they were in trouble.

Although the school principal and related administrators issued a statement apologizing for their negligence to allow students to do such show and promising to teach students more about Nazi atrocities, it did not help much for the damage made to Taiwan’s global image. Even the breaking news this afternoon about the principal tendering his resignation helped little.

How is it possible that teachers of that high school would allow such ignorant and foolish act to happen? Was there no one in that school who could warn students about the serious consequence?

Before gaining power, the DPP spent a great deal of time and energy arguing about some trivialities of high school history course guideline, which were nothing but the differences of their struggles with the then KMT regime. Did it help to make our students become more enlightened?

It is now the time that the ruling party and educators consider seriously how to teach our students to acquire judgement skills to avoid committing ignorance such as this one. 

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