A lecturer in an undergraduate English-language course was surprised when no students turned up for her morning class last week.
The incident took place at Kainan University in Taoyuan County.
“My first thought was whether I had turned up at the wrong classroom,” said the lecturer, surnamed Lin (林).
She again checked the room allocation for her 10am class and called the administration office to verify the information.
The administration verified that she was in the right classroom — but not a single student was present for her class.
Lin took photographs of the empty classroom chairs and posted them on her Facebook page.
With the pictures, Lin wrote: “Oh my God! There is not even one student in the classroom.”
“Well, it’s up to them. Those students who show up for less than 80 percent of my classes will receive a ‘fail’ from me,” she wrote.
Her Facebook contacts added their views.
“Such is the low quality of students these days,” one said.
Another wrote: “I can understand students sleeping during an 8am class, but now no one wants to attend a class at 10am. Maybe all courses should begin at noon.”
A university official said it is every student’s responsibility to attend their courses or not, adding: “If they do not show up for one of their classes they are not necessarily bad students or lazy people.”
He added that the lecturer can decide whether to arrange an extra class at another time to catch up on the work the students had missed.
However, when Lin was interviewed by the media on Tuesday last week, the reason for the students’ absence was clarified.
She had spoken to her students and found out that they were lining up to change their courses, as it was the first week of classes and the process for changing courses started at 10am that day.
“It was just a matter of timing. The students went to change their courses. This week they have been attending my class,” Lin said.
However, reporters went to her 10am class and other classrooms this week to check up. They found classes starting at 8am, 9am and 10am still very empty.
Reporters also witnessed a number of students eating their breakfast in class, while others rested their heads on their desks and dozed off while teachers were lecturing.
Educators and social commentators said students must improve their attendance rate and be more diligent in their academic work. If not, they will lack competitiveness upon graduation in an increasingly globalized economy.