National Taiwan University (NTU) has been fined NT$30,000 (US$943) for a test paper that contained descriptions deemed to be a violation of the gender equality law, according to the education ministry. NTU, which has yet to respond to the ruling, could yet appeal.
In a test given to applicants seeking to enter NTU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering (DME) in March, one of the questions started by quoting the Bible. The section cited by the test described a family as being formed by a man and a woman, adding that a husband and wife’s faithful relationship husband was the root of society and family. The test question then asked the applicants to elaborate on the social responsibilities of a mechanical engineer.
NTU students quickly protested the DME test as a form of discrimination, while DME issued a statement shortly afterwards apologising for use of the question. NTU promised that it would avoid a repeat of similar controversies when choosing its language and expressions in the future.
But the Ministry of Education (MOE) later received official complaints from students who accused DME of violating the gender equality law.
Yen Pao-yueh, deputy head of the MOE’s Department of Student Affairs and Special Education, said Wednesday that the ministry’s gender equality committee had held a meeting recently to discuss the complains about the NTU case.
The committee ruled that the test question did violate the gender equality law and therefore decided to slap NTU with a NT$30,00 fine.
It is the first time that any school in Taiwan has been penalised for problematic test questions.
The MOE stressed that not all countries embrace heterosexual monogamy, and that diverse families are also possible.
Taiwan introduced the gender equality law in 2004 to protect people from being discriminated on because of their sex.
The MOE’s decision against NTU comes closely on the heels of another campus discrimination case where National Defence University (NDU) has been fined NT$1 million (US$314,656) for expelling a HIV-positive student.
The health authorities ruled that NDU violated the law protecting HIV carriers and AIDS patients from discrimination.
The student is asking to be reinstated, but NDU has argued that the student was expelled for reasons other than his HIV-positive status.
Source: Asia News Network