Fri, Jul 02, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Students don’t trust media, government, study shows

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese students generally have low level of trust in the government, political parties and the media, according to an international study released yesterday.

The Ministry of Education and the National Science Council publicized the nation’s results from the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2009 (ICCS 2009), which showed that Taiwanese in their second year of junior-high generally did not have much trust in the government, political parties or the media.

The ministry said this lack of trust could be because the students had strong critical thinking ability or had high expectations of these institutions.

The phenomenon might also be appearing because the nation’s democracy has not fully developed yet, the ministry said.

A total of 5,167 students in the second year of junior-high from 150 randomly selected schools took part in the study in May last year, which was designed to assess the citizenship education levels of students worldwide.

The ministry said this was the first international social evaluation program the nation had joined.

The ICCS 2009 report showed that 38 countries and areas took part in the study.

Taiwan participated under the name “Chinese Taipei,” the ICCS 2009 brochure said.

The study found no differences between the “political efficacy” of Taiwanese students and students of other nations.

The term “political efficacy” refers to citizens’ trust in government and their own belief that they understand politics, the ministry said, adding that up to 82 percent of Taiwanese respondents said they would vote.

The Taiwanese students in the study also appeared to lead other nations in terms of their support for gender equality, the ministry said.

Although the students respondents appeared quite “cognizant” of their citizenship, they might still need to take more action to perform their civic duties.

The study showed that the majority of the students participating in the study — 65 percent — had never participated in civic activities outside of school.

This showed that there was still room for improvement in Taiwan’s civic education, the ministry said.

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