Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Poll finds belief in value of vocational education

TOO THEORETICAL:An education expert said that skill licences should be elevated to the status of diplomas, so that specialized skills would be adequately rewarded

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Feng Ching-huang of the Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation speaks at a media conference announcing the results of an opinion poll showing that people think students receiving technical and vocational education can look forward to a bright future in the workplace.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Almost 76 percent of respondents in a poll agreed that students receiving technical and vocational education can look forward to a bright future in the workplace, the Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation said yesterday.

Technical and vocational education forms the foundation for a country’s competitiveness, but vocational schools in Taiwan have become theory-oriented and indistinguishable from general universities, Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) of the eponymous foundation said while presenting the poll at a news conference in Taipei.

Taiwanese education and the economy are developing on two divergent tracks, which is absolutely wrong, because the two should go hand-in-hand, he added.

Respondents were more eager to share their opinions in the latest poll than in previous ones, poll committee member Feng Ching-huang (馮清皇) said.

When asked whether curricula at technical schools met the needs of economic and industrial development, 63 percent of respondents gave affirmative responses, the foundation said, adding that 61.3 percent of respondents agreed that graduates from vocational high schools should enter the workforce immediately after graduation and only pursue further studies if necessary.

Asked whether skill licenses are valued in the nation’s labor market, 52.8 percent of respondents said “yes,” with those younger than 34 more likely to express agreement, the poll showed.

However, only 66 out of 288 skill licenses available are required in the workplace, which is why some people consider licenses to be no more than learning incentives and not really helpful for finding a job, National Taipei University of Technology Institute of Technological and Vocational Education professor Chang Jen-chia (張仁家) said.

The nation should learn from Germany to elevate the status of skill licenses by making them equivalent to diplomas, so that people with specialized skills can find suitable jobs with suitable salaries, Chang said.

The poll found that 77.8 percent of respondents said teachers at vocational schools should regularly take a break from teaching to work in their respective industries.

Article 26 of the 2015 Technical and Vocational Education Act (技術及職業教育法) stipulates that full-time teachers at vocational schools, after having taught for six years, should conduct research or receive training at businesses related to their subjects for at least half a year.

The policy is not effectively implemented because many schools have expressed difficulties fulfilling the obligation, while the Ministry of Education does not specify how the policy should be implemented, including who is to assess teachers’ performance in the workplace, Chang said.

To inspire more discussion about vocational education reforms, the foundation is to invite Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠), Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) and other experts to speak at a seminar in Taipei on Nov. 18.

The telephone survey was conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research Co from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26 and collected 1,074 samples from people older than 20. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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