Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Apology demanded over university's low ranking


Students of National Chengchi Uni-versity yesterday demanded an apology from the Ministry of Edu-cation for a controversial report on academic achievement in which the university was ranked as 48th among 154 colleges. But the ministry did not bow to their pressure.

Officials and students were shocked and rankled about the evaluation, although it has not been completed yet.

The university has been voicing disbelief and protesting the ranking since the results were released on Monday, threatening to sue both the ministry and the Chinese-language newspaper that first ran the story.

About 150 students from the university gathered at the ministry's offices yesterday to voice doubts about the objectivity of the evaluation. They asked the ministry to apologize for leaking the unfinished report to the media, which they say has inflicted tremendous damage on the university's reputation.

The university's student union said that the evaluation mainly examined the number of academic papers published in the science and engineering field by each university, but because the National Chengchi University is an institute focusing on arts, humanities and social sciences, the evaluation was unfair to the university.

The evaluation was based on the number of research papers published according to three international databases, the Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index and Engineering Index.

"We are against evaluating universities based on certain fields, and we want the ministry to explain the evaluation clearly, publicly and quickly to restore our reputation," said Fang Chung-yu (方崇宇), the union's chairman.

The students were received by Huang Hong-pin (黃宏斌), director of the ministry's Higher Education bureau.

"This is an unfinished report -- two other research paper indexes, the Taiwan Social Science Citation Index and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, must still be compiled and added to the report," Huang said.

"The evaluation of a university's research standard does not reflect the overall achievements of the university, and the ministry is still discussing the specifics of how to evaluate a university properly with experts and the universities. We will explain to the public how we evaluate a university soon," he said.

But Huang refused to apologize for the leak and insisted that the information on how many papers a university published every year was no secret, so the ministry should not apologize for compiling correct information.

The students expressed disappointment about the ministry's refusal to apologize. A representative from the student union said afterwards that they had wasted their time at the ministry.

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