Fri, Apr 27, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Drafts would allow degrees based on achievements

FLEXIBILITY:The deputy minister of education said students would be encouraged to pursue technological breakthroughs instead of only conducting academic research

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan yesterday unveiled draft amendments to the Degree Conferral Act (學位授予法), which propose that art, sports and engineering students be allowed to earn degrees using practical achievements in their field of study instead of passing an oral defense of their thesis.

One proposed amendment seeks to allow art, sports and engineering students to use their artistic works, inventions or award certificates, in addition to writing a report on their achievements, as an alternative to writing a thesis to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree.

Another draft amendment proposes that university students should not be limited to earning credits within their major to receive a diploma, but should be able to earn credits through other departments, as long as faculty members consider the coursework to benefit their field of study.

Students should also be allowed to take up a second major or minor at another university, thus facilitating the pooling of educational resources and the broadening of students’ learning, one draft amendment says.

Regulations for the conferral of honorary degrees should be set by review committees of the universities granting the degrees, thus promoting their autonomy, another amendment says.

Deputy Minister of Education Yao Leeh-ter (姚立德) told a post-meeting news conference that if the amendments are passed by lawmakers, students in sports fields who win an award at a sporting event — for example, the Olympic Games — would be able to earn a diploma after a written report detailing their achievements is approved by a thesis defense panel.

Engineering students who have made a breakthrough in researching and developing technology would also be able to attain a doctorate in engineering by following a similar procedure, he said.

“This would encourage students to pursue technological breakthroughs in the field, rather than adhering to the traditional way of conducting academic research simply to get a diploma,” Yao said.

The ministry especially hopes that the amendments would help to boost the number of those attaining masters and doctorates, he added.

To improve flexibility and encourage diversity in the higher education system, thus boosting the nation’s global competitiveness, it is necessary to ease regulations on the conferral of degrees, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said while presiding over a weekly Cabinet meeting that approved the draft amendments.

Citing a meeting that he had with information technology companies, Lai said firms that used to only manufacture hardware are not actively seeking talent specializing in software engineering, indicating that an industrial shift is under way.

The proposed amendments would help the Cabinet respond to the demand for talent, he added.

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