Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Teacher quality key for education plan: experts

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Upgrading teacher quality is the key to success in efforts to promote the proposed 12-year compulsory education system, said a consensus reached among participants in a forum held by National Taiwan Normal University yesterday on the planned system.

Dozens of education specialists from around the country took part in the forum, part of a series of forums on the 12-year compulsory education plan adopted on March 7 by the Executive Yuan as one of its major national policies.

The Executive Yuan has allocated NT$40 billion (US$1.2 billion) over three years towards efforts to implement the system.

Wu Chin-shan (吳清山), a professor at the Education Research Institute of the Taipei Municipal University of Education, said that money is not the key factor in whether the 12-year compulsory education system, set to be implemented in 2009, will work or fail.

The most important factors will be how the students are enrolled and how school districts are plotted out, as well as teacher quality, Wu said, adding that a good teacher would directly affect students' learning and that only good teachers can maintain a good quality of national education.

Wu said that government statistics showed that only one-third of high-school teachers hold a master's degree or a doctoral degree, while only 29 percent of teachers at vocational high schools hold such degrees.

The ratio should be raised to 50 percent or more after the new education system is implemented, he suggested.

Teacher training programs must be upgraded in parallel with the implementation of the new system in order to assist lecturers at high schools and vocational high schools in adapting to the expected major changes to the existing school curriculums, said Kao Hsun-fang (高熏方), dean of the College of Education at Tamkang University.

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