Mon, Aug 27, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NTU asks new students to help school improve

PROBLEMS:Heads of students’ associations listed the botched election of the university’s president and a decline in doctoral students among the challenges

By Wu Po-hsuan  /  Staff reporter

New students, some with their luggage, having just arrived, listen during the opening ceremony for the new academic year at National Taiwan University in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The president of National Taiwan University’s (NTU) student association yesterday called on incoming freshmen to help improve the school, citing the challenges it has faced over the past year, including reduced government funding for higher education and the controversy surrounding the university presidential election.

The university’s Taipei campus yesterday opened the new academic year with a ceremony that doubled as a way to welcome the new freshmen class.

NTU acting president Kuo Tei-wei (郭大維) urged the new students to work hard, but to aim beyond high test scores, adding that they should focus on improving their knowledge while contributing to society.

National Taiwan University Student Association president Michelle Wu (吳奕柔) told the students to use their knowledge and passion to make the world a better place.

As important members of the school, students are responsible for improving it, she added.

“NTU might not be as good as we would like. The controversy surrounding the university president’s election, which has been going on since last year, and reduced government funding for higher education are tests to see whether this school is going to get better or worse,” she said, referring to the controversy over NTU president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔).

The Ministry of Education on April 27 refused to approve Kuan’s election citing allegations of a potential conflict of interest in the election process and asked NTU to hold a new presidential election.

Students must put in the work to improve the university, Wu said.

National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association president Xu Rui-fu (許瑞福), in his address to newcomers, said that over the past few years, higher education in Taiwan has faced a series of challenges, from the nation’s increasingly restricted international space to a dwindling birth rate and Beijing’s 31 measures to encourage Taiwanese to move to China.

“The number of NTU doctoral students has been steadily decreasing. In the past six years, the total number has fallen by more than 1,500. Meanwhile, the low birth rate has led to a growing number of those with doctorates being unemployed, making it more tempting to take jobs abroad,” he said.

Blessed with more opportunities and options in life, NTU students should aim to contribute to the nation during this difficult time, he said, urging them to follow in the footsteps of US civil rights leader the reverend Martin Luther King Jr and former South African president Nelson Mandela.

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