National Taiwan University (NTU) has been fined NT$30,000 for a test paper that contained descriptions deemed to violate the gender equality law, according to the education ministry.
NTU, which has yet to respond to the ruling, has the option to 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 as describing a family as being formed by a man and a woman. The faithful relationship of a husband and wife is the root of society and family, the Bible was cited as saying in the test, which was prepared by the DME.
The question then asked applicants taking the DME test to elaborate on the social responsibility of a mechanical engineer.
NTU students quickly protested the DME test as a form of discrimination.
DME shortly afterwards issued a statement apologizing to the public over the row. It promised that it would avoid a repeat of the controversy when choosing language in the future.
But the Ministry of Education (MOE) later received official complaints from students who accused the 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 held a meeting recently to discuss complaints about the NTU case.
The committee ruled that the test question violated the gender equality law and decided to slap NTU with a NT$30,00 fine.
It is the first time that any school in Taiwan has been penalized for problematic test questions.
The MOE stressed that not all countries embrace monogamy and that there are a diverse range of family structures. The description in the DME test question could restrict examinees' answers to specific questions, it added.
Taiwan introduced the gender equality law in 2004.
The MOE's decision against NTU comes close on the heels of another campus discrimination case, in which the National Defense University (NDU) was fined NT$1 million for expelling a HIV-positive student.
The health authorities ruled that NDU violated the law protecting HIV-positive people 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 status.
[2016-08-25, China Post]