Wed, Sep 28, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Almost 80 percent of teachers worried about low birthrate

Staff Writer, with CNA

Close to 80 percent of teachers are worried the low birthrate in Taiwan will affect their careers, a survey conducted prior to Teacher’s Day today shows.

A little more than 50 percent of the respondents were “seriously anxious” they might be transferred to another school or laid off. Another 27.5 percent reported being “extremely anxious,” according to the survey, conducted by the non-profit King Car Education Foundation among teachers from middle schools and elementary schools nationwide.

When asked what the biggest problems at their schools were, 94 percent of teachers said students needed to develop good ethics, while 70 percent said the traditional value of showing respect to teachers was eroding.

Eighty-three percent of respondents worry about campus bullying and 34.8 percent of teachers are concerned about students’ involvement in gang violence.

Meanwhile, on problems encountered in the classroom, 44 percent of teachers said students showed little desire for learning and 84 percent felt the quality of students has gradually declined.

Foundation general director Joyce Tseng (曾清芸) said the low birthrate and higher expectations for both students and teachers have placed a lot of pressure on faculty.

Despite the mounting pressure, 79.7 percent of teachers were determined to stay in education as their career, Tseng said, adding that those teachers deserved encouragement.

Those who did not want to make teaching their career numbered at 2.8 percent, while 17.5 percent of respondents had not decided yet. Middle-school and elementary-school teachers will have to pay income taxes starting next year.

Facing the upcoming tax implementation and a possible reduction in schools in the future, some teachers have suggested that the government lower the ratio of students to teachers and hire more faculty members with the revenue from the income tax to improve both teaching quality and the employment rate of qualified teachers, Tseng said.

In 2009, Minister of Education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基) predicted that more than 30 percent of local universities would go out of business in the next 12 years if the decline in student numbers continued.

Taiwan’s total fertility rate dropped to 0.91 last year — the lowest rate the country has ever seen and one of the lowest in the world, the Ministry of the Interior said earlier this year.

The foundation conducted the survey to mark Teacher’s Day for the 12th consecutive year. The random survey was carried out between Aug. 20 and Sept. 10, collecting 1,135 valid samples. It had a 95 percent confidence level and a margin error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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