The Ministry of Education (MOE) should investigate politicians whose education credentials have come under scrutiny to uphold the integrity of academia, Changhua County Councilor Huang Sheng-lu (黃盛祿) said on Thursday.
Huang’s comments followed allegations that Kaohsiung mayoral by-election candidate Jane Lee (李眉蓁) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had plagiarized 96 percent of her master’s thesis.
Academia and politicians serve each other, as politicians need higher education to win greater support, while universities reap political and economic benefits from having alumni in politics, Huang said.
Photo: Rachel Lin, Taipei Times
Huang cited former KMT legislator Yu Yueh-hsia (游月霞) as an example, saying that she only had a vocational high school degree prior to serving as a lawmaker, and after her election, she earned a master’s degree in administrative management from National Changhua Normal University.
Union of Private School Educators president Yu Jung-hui (尤榮輝) said that Taiwan’s higher education system is showing signs of commercialization, especially in master’s degree courses offered to working people.
He said that the intent of the program — allowing people to pursue a degree while working — was good, but such programs run the risk of rubber-stamping academic degrees.
Universities are pandering to part-time students, lowering standards so they can more easily complete studies and obtain degrees, he said.
Working people have less time for studies or to write a thesis in addition to their full-time jobs, leading to the appearance of “essay mills,” where students turn in theses on topics that are incompatible with their subject of study or resorting to outright plagiarism, Yu Jung-hui said.
Schools need students and the students — who are often politicians, government officials and business executives — need the degree to “gold-plate” their credentials, he said.
Professors are prone to employ lax grading standards for these types of students, as politicians could expand their social network or provide economic benefits for their school or department, he said.
Yu Jung-hui said that these programs must institute tougher standards to prevent universities from helping to create fraudulent academic credentials and being seen as degree peddlers.
He added that the public and the ministry should address the deterioration of morals in higher education.
Over the past five years, there have been 17 incidents in which educational degrees have been revoked due to thesis plagiarism, the ministry said.
The university and professors should take responsibility for the issue, the ministry said, adding that how a university prevents incidents would be important when the ministry reviews universities’ applications for new colleges, student recruitment programs or government subsidies.
The ministry said that in the most extreme cases, it could refuse departments that have failed to institute measures to prevent plagiarism from applying for subsidies.
The ministry said that it is considering establishing a digital comparison system that would use the National Central Library’s archived theses database as a source, adding that the system could assist universities in identifying plagiarism.
‘LONE WOLF’: The suspect was difficult to locate, as he did not use a cellphone, did not contact family and often lived in abandoned sites or parks, police said Taipei police on Thursday morning arrested a man accused of numerous burglaries and at least 14 incidents of sexual assault spanning more than 20 years, in what might be the nation’s most notorious crime spree in recent years. Sixty-year-old Tu Ming-lang (涂明朗) — who was yesterday placed in judicial detention, after a judge determined he was a flight risk without a fixed address — faces multiple charges of sexual assault and burglary, police said. A task force comprised of various law enforcement agencies arrested Tu as part of an investigation into an April 28 burglary in Daan District (大安), in which a
Ninth graders were asked to define “trolling” on this year’s standardized exam, reflecting efforts to make the test better reflect real-life situations. Adjustments to this year’s Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students were revealed on Sunday, after the last cohort of students completed the test over the weekend. The Ministry of Education solicited feedback about the test from teachers, who approved of the new question in the English portion. Not only was question No. 20 “very much in line with real-life situations,” but it also used a new style in which students were asked to ascertain the correct dictionary definition based
Taiwan is on alert for monkeypox, a rare viral disease that has caused 87 infections in 11 countries over the past three weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Saturday. The WHO on Friday convened an emergency session to discuss a sudden outbreak of monkeypox in North America and Europe. Since the beginning of this month, 87 confirmed cases and 28 possible cases have been identified in 11 countries. The countries with the highest case counts are England with 29 cases, and Portugal and Spain with 23 each. Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease occurring primarily in the tropical rainforest areas
ADAPTING: The CECC said the policy change would happen this week at the earliest, while PCR testing stations would be used to diagnose people and prescribe drugs The general public would be able to use a positive rapid test result that has been confirmed by a doctor for COVID-19 diagnosis starting later this week at the soonest, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 79,441 new local infections and 53 deaths. The center on Saturday announced that it was expanding the rapid test diagnosis policy to people living in indigenous townships and outlying islands, starting today. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, yesterday said the policy might be further expanded to include “all people” this week, at the soonest. He