Sat, Feb 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Poorly designed education reforms affecting students' ability, say experts

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Poorly designed education reforms over the last decade have put students off learning and have affected the ability of students to write high-quality essays, education reform activists claimed yesterday.

According to the College Entrance Examination Center (CEEC), 2,771 out of roughly 160,000 students who took the examination this year received a score of zero in the composition test. The number is more than double that of last year's total of 1,277.

At a press conference held yesterday by the Taiwan Provincial Education Association (TPEA), education experts said the phenomenon deserves further investigation to discover whether students had burned out.

"Zero points is awarded to essays on completely irrelevant topics or blank answer sheets. The number of zeroes has dou-bled. This situation should worry lots of educators," said Chou Chu-ing (周祝瑛), an education professor at National Chengchi University.

Lin An-wu (林安梧), a Chinese literature professor at National Taiwan Normal University, said that current teaching materials, which have been revised several times as a result of inconsistent education ideas, had seriously affected the ability of students to compose good essays.

Lin argued that learning the classical Chinese (文言文) that is used in Chinese literature could strengthen students' ability in everyday language.

Lin criticized Ministry of Education Tu Cheng-sheng's (杜正勝) reported remarks refuting poet and writer Yu Kwang-chung's (余光中) call to add more essays from classical Chinese to teaching materials as "very funny."

Tu is well known for promoting use of the local dialect in Taiwan.

"Tu's argument about classical Chinese shows his ignorance. Actually, the Taiwanese dialect uses a lot of classical Chinese language," Lin said.

At a separate event yesterday, when asked for comments regarding his remarks about Yu, Tu said he did not remember making such remarks.

Grace Wang (王玲惠), an activist with the (TPEA), said that students' failure to write readable essays was just one of the problems caused by education reform.

"The economic miracle was created by talented people. We should be worried now since the weaknesses of the education reform programs implemented over the last decade have started to emerge," Wang said.

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