Thu, Mar 18, 2010 - Page 8 News List

MOE’s reform plans not enough

By Wu Chihyi Chang Teh-tsung Wang Chih-hung 王智弘, 吳芝儀, 張

The Ministry of Education (MOE) recently announced plans to hold a national conference on education, an event for which we have been waiting 16 years. The ministry came up with a draft covering 10 key issues to serve as a foundation for the design of a new education system. However, these 10 topics do not include aspects such as the psychological health of students, career development education and differential counseling. The lack of attention to these details is very worrying because it means future policies could ignore student counseling.

The conference should include discussion on the following five areas: career development education, psychological health education, alternative education programs for at-risk students, increasing the employability of students at institutes of higher education, and counseling groups within schools and the development of specialized counselors. These areas will be central to education in the future and we should pay more attention to them.

First, career development education is one of the most important ways of educating highly skilled workers in developed countries. A majority of developed Western nations place career education and other basic academic subjects at the core of their curriculums. In these countries, educational authorities release guidelines or structures for career development for students that are then used by local governments and schools as a reference when drawing up courses for career development education.

For example, the UK has career education and counseling programs, while Canada has its Health and Career Education programs. Australia’s Department of Education has set up the Australian Blueprint for Career Development for school students of all levels, while each US state has a K-12 Career Development Curriculum Framework.

All these initiatives are aimed at giving students of all grades clear indications of what skills they should acquire and what goals they should achieve in terms of their career development for each academic year. These initiatives all use gradual and orderly approaches to career counseling classes as well as plans to help achieve goals.

From these measures, it is easy to see the importance of career counseling in spurring student development and individual growth based on the concept of “whole-person development.”

The second area that needs to be addressed is psychological health education for students. The social structure has become increasingly complex and students at all levels are now more prone to stress in their studies, interpersonal relationships, at home and in society. These pressures mean that they have more trouble with emotions and behavior that can even develop into psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. This ultimately leads to psychosomatic imbalances and we desperately need our educational system to offer a varying range of preventative measures and assistance to those who suffer from such problems.

Therefore, nationwide health promotion strategies should not only focus on physical exercise, but also on the psychological health of students and place a greater focus on students’ emotions and social adaptation.

Third, we would like to discuss alternative education programs for at-risk students. “At-risk students” refers to students who are unable to study successfully or those on the brink of failing. They often have less motivation to learn and study, and have poor academic results that often cause other problems such as negative emotional reactions and bad behavior.

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