Young Taiwanese people’s obsession with National Taiwan University (NTU) is increasing, with many top students this year choosing to do an unpopular major at NTU over a popular one at National Chengchi University (NCCU).
The results of this year’s College Entrance Exam, released on Monday, show the entrance level to NTU’s drama department has, for the first time, surpassed that of the journalism department at NCCU, an indication that high-scoring students would rather attend a not-so-prestigious department of NTU than a well-known department at NCCU.
Observers said that many top students tried their best to “get admitted to NTU” regardless of their personal interests or talents, presuming that they will enter the top university first and then be able to transfer to another department later.
As a result, the entry thresholds of such NTU departments as the department of geography and the department of forestry have risen above the levels of previous years.
A clear indicator is the entry-level score of NTU’s department of drama, which surged higher than the entry-level scores of the departments of journalism and advertising at NCCU.
Seven of the top 10 engineering choices for this year’s freshmen were NTU departments, including the top six choices for all engineering freshmen.
On the other hand, National Chiao Tung University’s (NCTU) department of computer science and information engineering, which was ranked fifth in Taiwan last year, fell to seventh place this year. The same department at National Tsing Hua University fell out of the top 10.
NTU remained the top choice for high-scoring high-school graduates this year as all spots in the various departments in the university’s different colleges and schools were filled as soon as the entrance exam results were out.
A good example of the ever-growing “NTU complex” among Taiwanese students is that the minimum score for entering NTU’s department of drama — 472.7 — surged ahead of the score for attending the department of journalism of NCCU, which was 471.8.
The entry level for NTU’s department of meteorology also rose above nine other departments in other famous universities, including the nanotechnology department of NCTU and the electric and electronics department of National Cheng Kung University.
Students are placing NTU above all else, indicating that their “NTU complex” has grown stronger, said Liu Chun-hao, a student counselor.
NCCU president Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said that choosing NTU’s drama department over his school’s journalism department was an indication of students planning to focus on their majors only when they follow a master’s program.
He said he blamed the phenomenon in part on the Ministry of Education’s unfair allocation of NT$3 billion (US$103.6 million) per year to NTU in its “five-year NT$50 billion program.”
Only NT$200 million is given to NCCU annually, he said.
This distribution of educational funding leads people to think that NTU has abundant resources, he said, adding that the government should not adopt a policy which “singles out” and “prioritizes” a particular university.
Why do students love NTU?
Hung Tai-hsiung (洪泰雄), director of the NTU student registration division, said the university has a full range of academic studies and has a 50 percent success rate when students who did not know their interests in high school want to transfer to a more appropriate field of study.
Chang Kuo-pao (張國保), director of Ming Chuan University’s Institute of Education, said choosing universities over departments creates a disadvantage for students when they graduate and have to make career decisions.
Chou Chu-ying (周祝瑛), a professor of education at NCCU, said that by giving preferential treatment to NTU — where nearly 80 percent of the students are from middle and upper-class families — the government was only taking care of “members of the elite families.”
“This is not good for the country,” she said.
She said the current situation is like “NTU driving a Mercedes-Benz while all other universities are riding on bicycles.”
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