[ LETTERS ]

Mon, May 27, 2019 - Page 6

Internships should benefit all

Your article strikes a sensitive chord with this semi-retired public relations professor who, for nearly two decades, supervised an internship program that saw dozens of public relations students transitioning successfully into the “real world” with hands-on experience and industry knowledge (“Internships are not manual labor: MOE,” May 15, page 4).

One point that I consistently stressed with my internship supervisees, as well as with my academic and professional colleagues, was that an internship should be designed to give the student real-life experience while better identifying his or her own skills and interests.

Yes, on occasion, one will be asked (told) to “go pick up my laundry” or “clean out the office storage closet.” These must be one-off requests, not “business as usual.” As one corporate president for whom I once worked remarked when I asked him why he was washing dirty dishes in the staff breakroom: “If I don’t do it, how can I expect others to do it?”

I make it very clear with the internship on-site supervisor that the student is at his or her place of business to learn from the professionals there, with the hopes of possibly being offered an entry-level position if things work out as anticipated.

I also make it very clear with the student that he or she is being offered this unique opportunity to learn more about a specific career field and that I will be monitoring their progress closely.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is prudent in cautioning schools about the potential pitfalls of internship opportunities, but I will turn the spotlight back on the faculty adviser and the student to pay attention to the requirements of the internship and to monitor progress.

Internships are — or should be — a mutually satisfying partnership in which the school itself, the student and the professional organization offering the opportunity benefit.

The school can say confidently: “We prepare our students for the demands and the realities of today’s working world.”

The student can say proudly: “I learned my strengths and weaknesses as I prepared for my future as a professional; I know what will be expected of me when I enter the working world and I am confident I will succeed.”

The organization can say: “We offer a realistic environment in which the student is able to better identify his or her skills and abilities, and at the same time, we are afforded the opportunity to evaluate a potential employee.”

If managed and supervised correctly, internships should be “win-win-win” — hard work perhaps, but definitely not “manual labor.”

Kirk Hazlett

Tampa, Florida

Climate action needed now

Your editorial asked: “Does the central argument of the Global Climate Strike For Future movement — that adults and governments have not done enough to address climate change — hold true?” (“Give voice to climate facts, not fear,” May 7, page 8). The answer is yes.

The youth on strike are not stroppy teenagers rebelling without a cause. They are channeling what the scientists said in the UN report, summarized on the front page of Taipei Times: “To contain warming at 1.5°C, human-made global net carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach ‘net zero’ by mid-century” (“‘Unprecedented’ climate steps are needed, UN says,” Oct. 9, 2018).

I remember writing a school essay a quarter-century ago — hiding in an air-conditioned room from Taipei’s summer heat — about the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, then already poised to become a success.

I wondered how Taiwan could participate in the next worldwide environmental challenge against global warming. Alas, I did not have the fortitude of school strikers Chang Ting-wei (張庭瑋) and Greta Thunberg to put my thoughts into action.

The UN scientists’ report shows that the sooner we act, the easier it will be to arrive at a climate-sensible economy smoothly and equitably. Before reaching net zero, every generation that dithers by dismissing climate science leaves the next with an even larger carbon debt, requiring ever more drastic action.

Except Chang and Thunberg’s generation. Theirs is one that will face catastrophe if we do not act in the next decade, according to the scientists.

By the time they are allowed to vote, it will be too late.

This is why they were on the streets on Friday, stating the facts, telling everyone that “the Emperor has no clothes.”

Grown-up talk of an “economic crash” is fear-mongering, which aims to silence climate facts and science.

Unlike with human interlocutors, the only way to negotiate with the climate is through the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and in this negotiation, the whole of humanity is on the same side; we are all in it together.

If Taiwan wants to take its rightful place in the international community, there is no room for complacency or special pleading on climate action.

Te Khai-su

Helsingfors, Finland