Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Teens interested in political, social issues, but lack real-life involvement

GLOBAL SURVEY:The IEA poll on citizenship and civics was the second of its kind and a total of 94,000 eighth or ninth-grade students took part

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese teenagers tend to engage in political and social issues through social media, but few of them join any organizations, the “2016 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study” found, researchers said yesterday.

The study, the second of its kind, was sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to determine “the ways in which young people are prepared to undertake their roles as citizens in a world where contexts of democracy and civic participation continue to change,” the IEA said on its Web site, adding that the target population was students aged 13.5 years or older in the eighth or ninth grades.

The survey portion in Taiwan was conducted by Liu Mei-hui (劉美慧), an education professor at National Taiwan Normal University, other colleagues from her university and researchers from Tamkang University.

The worldwide study involved 94,000 students from 24 nations, although in Asia, only Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong were included, Liu told a news conference in Taipei.

The survey was composed of 123 questions divided into four categories: civil society and organizations, civic principles, civic participation and identification, and included questions such as “what is democracy?” and “why is education regarded as a human right?” Liu said.

Students responded by choosing one of four statements, she said.

Taiwanese students scored 581 points on average, which put them second behind Danish students, who averaged 586 points, she said.

In issues related to support for ethnic equality, Taiwanese students had the best performance, Liu said.

As for confidence in government agencies, Taiwanese felt the judiciary was the most trustworthy, but had the least confidence in mass media, the survey found.

Asked why the result seems to differ from other polls in which Taiwanese voice less confidence in the judiciary, Tung Hsiu-lan (董秀蘭), a professor of civic education and leadership at National Taiwan Normal University, said students’ responses reflect their learning of the eighth-grade civic studies.

As the survey did not involve any individual interviews, more qualitative studies are needed to explore the difference, Tung said.

Despite their distrust of the media, about 80 percent of the students said they access local and foreign news through television, while only 35 percent get their information from reading newspapers, the survey found.

Taiwanese students tend to engage in political and social issues through social media, but they are less active in joining extracurricular organizations than students in other countries, the survey showed.

Asked how students could be encouraged to join social activities, Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) said teachers should introduce more social issues in class through different media platforms.

To help Taiwan’s students become a participative citizen, teachers should encourage more discussion about social issues, while non-governmental organizations can also encourage parents and children to join their campaigns and activities, Liu said.

A total of 4,454 students from 150 junior-high schools nationwide took part in the survey, she said, adding that the schools were sampled according to the IEA’s rules.

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