Thu, Oct 27, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Students falling short: TSU

TECHNICAL COLLEGES The surge in the number of technical colleges has had a detrimental effect on the quality of students entering them, a TSU official said

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Solidarity Union Secretary-General Cheng Cheng-lung yesterday points to figures showing poor performance in high-school level English and math tests by technical college students.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Students attending technical colleges are of low quality, and an estimated 650,000 out of the total 680,000 students do not know basic junior high school English and math, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Cheng Cheng-lung (程振隆) said yesterday.

Student quality has dropped drastically with a surge in the number of colleges in Taiwan, especially among public and private technical colleges, many of which were formerly vocational schools, Cheng said, adding that the Ministry of Education has not yet tackled the issue.

Entrance exam results for this year from the 182,591 students entering technological colleges showed that 56,859 (31.1 percent) had math scores of 25 percent or lower, and 39,847 (21.8 percent) had English scores of 25 percent or lower, indicating a drop in the basic skill level of students, according to figures given by the Entrance Examination Center.

Despite the low marks, Cheng said that the English entrance exams were surprisingly easy.

Cheng had 50 junior-high cram school students take the same exam and 80 percent passed, whereas only 14.7 percent of the first-year technical college students had passed their entrance exams, he said.

Cheng also tested 2,300 students in the top three private technical colleges using English and math questions from junior high school texts and review booklets.

Only 2.1 percent of the students passed the English portion and 7.6 percent passed the math, he said.

Extrapolating from those figures, he said that if technical college students took the exam, 650,000 out of 680,000 would fail.

"Junior high school students in a regular cram school can answer college-level English questions, while these technological college students can't even do basic junior-high level math and English," Cheng said. "What will happen to these college students in the future?"

According to Cheng, college education should be for the elite, training only those who have the ability and drive to make it to the top, and private technical colleges shouldn't be a place for students who don't actually want to learn anything.

"These students are supposedly being trained to work for high-tech companies in the future, but how could these companies possibly want students of this level?" Cheng asked. "We are unnecessarily wasting resources on these students every year."

Cheng said junior high school education was to blame.

"These students are taught in junior high to memorize everything, and this influences their future education, because they can't make it to college by memorizing text books," Cheng said.

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