Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Requirements and ‘good education’

By Emilio Venezian

In invertebrate biology, I learned a good deal about the life cycle of parasites that I was able to use in my consulting work, so I never regretted taking the course. As for French, I was able to continue to improve my skills by reading and speaking the language when the opportunity arose.

Giving universities autonomy “so they could be able to offer a better education” sounds noble, but in practice it will not work unless everyone agree on what “a better education” means.

Too many universities, in Taiwan and the US, seem to think that giving a diploma in four years is the best measure of a good education. In those cases, a diploma is not even evidence of good memorization skills.

There might be other universities that put more stock in actual learning, but as some of my colleagues have said: “That is not fair to the students.”

Without a firm consensus on what constitutes a good education, providing “autonomy” is no more than providing a license to teaching institutions to get money out of students (or their parents) while providing little more than babysitting services.

Emilio Venezian is a former visiting professor at Feng Chia University.

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