Joined: 27 May 2008
|Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:50 pm Post subject: Lecturer finds her classroom empty.
|An article that appeared in the Taipei Times today had this rather alarming headline: 'Lecturer finds her classroom empty.' The article begins:
A lecturer in an undergraduate English-language course was surprised when no students turned up for her morning class last week. The incident took place at Kainan University in Taoyuan County.
At first I thought the article was about Taiwan's plummeting birth rate, but when I read the through the issue was clarified by the lecturer, who said that her students had simply been "lining up to change their courses, as it was the first week of classes and the process for changing courses started at 10am that day".
It's interesting that the media in Taiwan have such an interest in what happens to be a non-event. However, it does show how concerned people are about the falling birth rate and will panic at the merest hint where evidence is suggested of it.
I'd like to pick up on another point. Let me first quote again from the conclusion of the article:
However, reporters went to her 10am class and other classrooms this week to check up. They found classes starting at 8am, 9am and 10am still very empty.
Reporters also witnessed a number of students eating their breakfast in class, while others rested their heads on their desks and dozed off while teachers were lecturing.
Educators and social commentators said students must improve their attendance rate and be more diligent in their academic work. If not, they will lack competitiveness upon graduation in an increasingly globalized economy.
I think it unfair to blame the students for their apathy and lack of diligence because many of these students, if truth be told, should not be attending a university in the first place. They are simply not cut out for an academic life. However, with over 94% of students being admitted into universities across Taiwan this year - the highest on record - is it any wonder that these students are not academic? Of course the MOE welcomes these students to keep the universities afloat and to keep struggling lecturers and administrators in employment, but for how much longer can the dire state of the tertiary sector in Taiwan be denied? Empty classrooms, indifferent students, falling standards, misguided policies, and universities closures are a reality, and the sooner the mandarins at the MOE realise this, the sooner they'll be able to put on a life jacket and jump ship.