Taiwanese students' ability to write in Chinese has deteriorated since the Ministry of Education eliminated composition as an element of entrance exams for senior high schools and universities, a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmaker said yesterday. \nTSU Legislator Cheng Chen-lung (程振隆), one of the members of the Legislative Yuan's education committee, attributed the deterioration in writing skills both to the elimination of composition testing and to a reduction in the number of classes in written Chinese offered in elementary and high schools. \nCheng referred to an exam given to sophomores majoring in the Chinese language at Taipei Municipal Teacher College. According to Cheng, 94.2 percent of students failed the exam, which aimed to test students' basic ability in the Chinese language. \n"Only six students out of 105 passed the exam. It is very worrisome that the students who failed the exam are our next generation of teachers," Cheng said. \nCheng also said that many words are written incorrectly in newspapers and on TV, which showed that the skills of professional writers had deteriorated as well. \nCheng urged the Ministry of Education to address the problem as quickly as possible. \nMinister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) agreed that a crisis exists, with more and more students unable to write correct Chinese and to express themselves well in writing. \n"I think the problem stems from our exam system," Tu said. \n"The cancelation of the composition test means that students don't have as much opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills and their ability to organize ideas. This is a big crisis in education," he said. \nTu vowed that the ministry will deal with the problem and will consider reinstating composition exams.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”