Sat, May 31, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Brave new classroom

Public schools are taking a personal approach when talking to children about their future

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

But though these program requirements are constant across public schools, implementation has varied.

At the heart of the workbook are the pages on career exploration events (生涯試探活動). Schools are required to send children to events where they can explore certain specified fields, which include food and tourism, the chemical industry and agriculture.

Since 2011, the MOE has hosted a few career exploration events, but most schools have been left to their own devices.

Some schools, such as Lin Yuan Junior High School (林園中學), are sending students to nearby vocational schools for hands-on experience in different trades.

Other schools are hosting lectures by professionals — called “career experts” — in the targeted fields.

In Greater Kaohsiung, Youth Junior High (青年國中) has recruited its career experts by contacting alumni who have excelled in the workplace.

Other schools, like Greater Tainan’s Houjia Junior High (後甲國中) and New Taipei City’s Shu Lin, have gotten experts through the Eball Foundation (超越基金會) — a non-profit that handles the entire career exploration event from start to finish.

Eball was established by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and is directed by his daughter Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧).

Since 2012, she has coordinated over 20 career expert workshops, mainly in rural communities. The foundation also offers workplace experiences for students and a set of supporting textbooks.

It’s unclear whether this version of career advising, or any of its counterparts across the country, could truly convince students that they are free to explore their vocational interests.

It also remains to be seen how far-reaching its effects are on parents, who bear a main influence on the path of young learners.

But Su Chiao-hui, in a rare instance of cross-party amity, says the foundation is committed to working with the MOE on pushing career advising in its new direction.

“It’s just starting out — we do not know yet if the results are good or bad. We have no criticism,” she said at Eball Foundation’s career exploration event at Shu Lin Senior High.

“Still, the basic mission of the 12-year education program is guiding students to develop according to their disposition, and that goal is correct, we affirm it. The only question is how,” she said.

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