Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Students' knowledge of global affairs limited: poll

WHO'S WHO The survey of college students showed that while half didn't know who the German chancellor was, they knew which team Wang Chien-ming plays for

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Less than 60 percent of local college students have an accurate understanding of global affairs, highlighting their limited view of the world, according to a poll released yesterday.

The survey on college students' global views was conducted by National Chengchi University students and released in a discussion forum held by the World Leadership Education Foundation.

A total of 1,285 students from universities across the country filled out the questionnaires on their knowledge about global affairs and opinions about world leaders.

The poll found that students were more interested in local politics and lack sufficient comprehension of global affairs.


In the survey, only 49. 6 percent of the polled knew that the German chancellor is Angela Merkel, while 26.1 percent believed it was Thaksin Shinawatra (the former Thai prime minister) and 14 percent thought it was Tony Blair (the British prime minister).

On the question of which country was recently involved in a war with Israel, 36 percent said it was Palestine, while another 21 percent responded with Iraq. Only 38 percent came up with the right answer, Lebanon.

What most students did know was that Wang Chien-ming (王建民) is a Taiwanese pitcher for the New York Yankees; 97.5 percent provided the correct answer identifying the Taiwan-born pitcher of the famous US Major League Baseball team.

Still, 1.9 percent selected Kuo Hung-chih (郭泓治) -- who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As for domestic news, only 52.2 percent of respondents knew that the diplomatic ally that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) recently visited was Palau.

Commenting on the result of the survey, political scientist Emile Sheng (盛治仁) of Taipei's Soochow University, who served as the poll analyst at the forum yesterday, said nowadays college students seem to be more interested in local news than international news, which he thought might be an influence of the media.

Economic constraint

Sheng added that the number of students planning to study abroad was also dropping -- a trend that he found worrisome as many cited economic concerns as a factor.

Tom Chou (周台竹), chairperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' congressional liaison office, encouraged students to participate in youth activities held by international organizations or the ministry if their families cannot afford to send them abroad for studies.

Additional reporting by CNA

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