Taiwan: Low standards harming education

Interesting story, I know some young staff we hired like this, have a degree but still need help to make simple calls or simple thinking.


From the article:

We must fix admission’s systems at universities. An appropriate screening mechanism should be restored. If universities only seek to recruit more students, the situation would continue to deteriorate.

Its not a problem with university admissions. They raise the bar any higher than where its at and even NTU will fail as a school due to too few students. They need to fix the problem with education at the preschool level on up. The whole education system is built around “pass these tests so you can go to a good school and get a good paying job”.

Heck, the main textbook used at Taiwan’s “premier” Chinese language program (:face_vomiting:), ICLP, “Thought and Society”, which was most recently republished in 1997 (first published in 1987) has an article about the laziness and lack of motivation of Taiwan’s college students. The students in question in that text are already reaching retirement age. And the text is a rant about how these “force fed duck” college students dont give a shite about their education or anything else. Yeah, you’ve got five year olds being expected to know how to pass standardized tests.

Anyone who wants their child to succeed “in life” has them in cram school every day of the week and still makes them (elementary children!) stay up til midnight making sure 100% of the information that will be on the test tomorrow, the test they went to cram school to cram for, is in their brains. The only thing anyone is taught to do in this country is pass tests and be “at the top”. I don’t know how anyone is surprised that college students “these days” are incompetent. They always have been. Its not a generational thing. And if it is, its 100% the fault of mommy and daddy literally doing EVERYTHING for their children, including small dumb shit they should have learned when they were six, like opening and filling up their own water bottle, or remembering to wear a coat to school when it’s cold. But mommy and daddy are still doing that when their little baby is in MEDICAL SCHOOL and then people scratch their heads and ask “why is everyone so incompetent?”


The problem is the crazy emphasis, still to this day, on teaching to the test.
And testing. And testing.

The schools also occupy a ridiculous amount of the kids day.

From 7.40m to 4pm for later elmentary. 7.25am- 4.30pm finish first grade junior high. Later grades 5pm finish.

Then off to Buxiban.
Test preps on weekends. More homework.
Make up days too on Saturdays.
On and on and on

My kids junior high teacher has now offered to do test prep for the kids, free, for two weekends in a row . Weirdo.

She already makes them do test prep in the free morning session , before official class time, that they are FORBIDDEN to do test prep by ministry of education. Almost all the schools and teachers are breaking the Ministry of educations regulations right now.

No time to do anything else.

I think the teachers suck ass here, and the parents are about the same. They ignore the 360degree of education. They have few clubs and actiivities for kids that reach junior high school age because they occupy all their time with core classes. Physical exercise also lacking.


Couldn’t agree more.

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This is the issue. I agree, but probably also froma different angle as you though with a similar goal. the problem, in my opinion in taiwan, is their bar is wrong. the bar is WAAAAAAAY too low here. they essentially pass functional retards in.schools here. literally, not just in a jokingly manner. the math skills are fine, but adults in their mid 20s need to know how to tie their shoe laces too. this is a huge issue in Taiwan. schooling focuses largely on academics and memory/followong and nearly not at all with critical thinking and leading.

I am happy to see in my kids schools this is changing, even fast. elementary school, rural Pingtung, believe it or not… the teachers themselves see how dumbed down and frankly uselss we have become and they are worried. it is certainly a generational problem, I am glad the few schools I have experience with are very aware of this issue now! probably because their staff haha, they need to figure it out asap.

I hope every teacher aware of this issue does their best to input actual stimulation and critical thinking into their daily classes. In my opinion, that is the duty of every teacher, or they are failing at their job. even in simple stuff like kindy teachers getting .kids to fugure out how water runs around a basin. simple stuff, but logical stuff that improves peoples lives ona grass root level. it is more important than we gave it credit for before.

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Yeah, basically the bar is just wrong. Children are not taught or expected to do the most basic things necessary to be a functioning human at any point in their schooling, preparing them for total failure after they complete whatever secondary education they receive. They do learn to he screamed at for not sweeping the floor correctly or washing the classroom dishes correctly, but there’s no consequences for failing to compete tasks like washing ones own dishes — mommy or auntie will do it for them when they get home. They also dont have the opportunity to explore the functioning of the world. Why do leaves grow on trees? Water flows downhill?! If I drop something glass onto concrete, it breaks! But I have to emphasize, the parents are the ones allowing this to happen. My mother allowed my siblings and I to go to school with the wrong clothing all the time. You wanna have wet hair and wear flip flops when there’s two feet of snow on the ground? You’re driving and school is less than a mile away. You end up needing to walk in this weather cuz the car stopped working? You’ll almost certainly slip and you will have very cold feet, but it’s not cold enough or far enough for frostbite. Have fun at school! Meanwhile, I see parents putting coats onto (or stopping wherever they are and demanding) their high school aged children put on/take off their coats all the time, even carrying the coats for them. At one point when I was teaching in a public jr high, I overheard a phone conversation between a homeroom teacher and a parent whose son “didnt want to put on his uniform”. The parent was asking the homeroom teacher to come to their house and help him put on his uniform. In the middle of the school day. Its truly shocking how incompetent children are, but it really is the fault of the adults that enable/encourage that incompetence. It’s one thing to double check that your child’s coat is zipped up all the way before going out in the freezing cold as a sign of love, its another all together to help them through the whole process after they’ve reached the age of six.


Thought and Society (思想與社會)’s page one of the text on the issue (dump it into google and tell me its not exactly what this article above is saying, but from 30+ years ago):

聯考所謂的志願,對大部分的學生來說,並不代表他們自己的志趣,而只是反映社會上所公認的一種價值標準。對那些不知道自己志趣在那兒的人來說,擠進了 「好」學校和熱門的科系當然可以高興一番;如果不幸落入「二三流」學校的冷


This account would seem to signal a continuity in—and not a break from—how students are trained and how they act once they arrive at universities.

For better or for worse (in my experience at the postsecondary level, definitely for worse), things are changing. The level of indifference I am seeing among a significant chunk of students (not all of them, but many of them) has been startling.

It’d also be nice if they spent a bit of time studying instead of running off to this-and-that internship. But I suppose this is a sign of the neoliberal times . . .


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I know quite a few university students that are required to do insane amounts of internship hours in order to graduate. I mean internships at Starbucks for half the wage of the typical worker there sorts of “internships”. Like, the head of the university buddied up with Corporate Taiwan to make sure Corporate Taiwan can make extra profits off university students so they have to work there for slave wages in order to graduate. That’s about as opposite of “neoliberal” as you get.


30 years ago ha, I was a baby. But ya, they knew. How to fix it, close a lot of Uni’s and force people to be a better student to qualify for Uni’s. If your a bad student then go to work directly. In Germany and Japan much fewer people go to Uni’s, but still you can good jobs and learning while working, not sure doing internship at Family Mart is useful at all (the one near my house has students from Pingtung). Really odd system. Only good for business maybe.

Doubtful they will close Uni’s though, only as a last resort when the school has no students.

Also overseas Uni’s do this, in Ireland and UK schools intake low level overseas students since they pay in cash, even though there is no place to live, ha. All about jobs and money.

Next time ask for course syllabus to see how that type of professor is explaining the class internship. ha

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i disagree,
i used to work at a leading national university, and the desire to place students as interns was genuine, and was meant to help prepare students for “real work”. Professors are aware that university students are immature and internship are one way to help them grow.


Sure, but why are university students so “immature”? It’s obvious when you actually take a step back and look at it: they were treated like incompetent babies for their entire K-12 existence. Everything short of wiping their butts for them was done for them so that they might be able to pass all the standardized tests that they were required to pass. Then they were suddenly expected to be fully competent adults when they reached university. Their age might be 18-22 but their competence as a human being is typically much lower than that of a three year old. That’s a) Not their fault. It’s the fault of the adults who babied them their whole lives and b) not going to be solved by making them “intern” at restaurants and convenience stores as a way to learn “real work”. “Here’s a broom. Figure it out” doesn’t work when the only thing they need to do is show up, not show any competency in anything they do.

I absolutely agree that university students are generally incompetent individuals who don’t have simple life skills. They will need to be taught how to do everything. By “everything”, I do mean “everything”. They will need to be taught how to wash dishes and they will need time to practice doing it. They will need to be taught how to wash their own clothes and they will need practice doing it. They will need to learn how to recognize when their water bottle is smelly and they will need to be taught how to address that issue. They will need to learn how to notice when their room has filled with trash and the will need to learn how to go to the store and buy trash bags and how to chase down the trash truck to dispose of it. They will need to learn how to say someone “You are doing X. I do not like it. Please stop”, rather than whining and complaining about it to anyone but the person bothering them. And they will need to learn that when someone says that to them, they need to respect the other. If you want university students to be competent humans when they were forbidden from learning those skills for the first 18 years of their life, those skills should be taught in a required class. Throwing them into an “internship” for them to learn “life skills” will not teach them pretty much any of what they need to be taught. They need explicit instruction on “how to be a competent human”, because they weren’t able to simply “pick up” those skills when it was developmentally necessary to learn them.

I can say with full confidence that these are basic human skills that most college educated adults lack. Many of them continue to lack these skills until the day they die because no one taught them to them. I teach Montessori elementary. I spend about 99% of my time teaching my students how to be competent humans (“This is how you carry X. Let’s practice.” “This is how you wash your hands with soap and then dry them before leaving the bathroom. Let’s practice”. “Sam, you just punched Johnny in the face. Johnny, how do you feel?” (that way Sam learns that he doesn’t get attention for being a brat, but rather the person he hurt gets all the attention). “You two are using language that we don’t use in our society. Try Y instead. Let’s practice.” etc.) and about 1% of my time teaching them academics. Yet somehow, everyone I know that goes on to “traditional” junior and senior high schools and then on to university has no problem on the academic side of things. The same cannot be said in the opposite direction for children in “force fed duck” traditional education settings that then go on to “top” universities".

Ive had 12 year olds that can’t hold a pencil or unscrew a plastic jar lid. Mommy and daddy tell me “the doctor says he has hypersensitivity. Dont make him touch things and he wont get upset”. I dont listen. I make the kid practice fundamental fine motor skills, aka the things you’re supposed to learn in preschool. The things his fake Montessori school failed to teach him, despite literally everything in Montessori class for 3-6 year olds existing to “prepare the hand”. Ive had 10 year olds walk up to me with puppy eyes, point at their water bottle and stare at me. Some of them burst into tears when I dare ask “can I help you?” Instead of saying “here, let me help you open your water bottle. Do you want warm water or hot water?” Like the servants at home do for them. I see in every adult I meet, including myself, where the adults failed them/me. And I see in all these children how hopelessly helpless they will be when they grow up, thanks to everyone doing everything for them. Thank god I dont have to worry about my tiny class growing up to be anything but perfectly capable people. And they’re so self motivated, no one will ever need to bribe them with grades or other extrinsic rewards to get anything done. College “internships” aren’t going to fix the problems society and the grownups created for everyone else. Nor is complaining about how lazy and incapable college students are. You want them to do it right, teach them, over and over, until they get it right.


i dont disagree with lack of competence, i disagree with your statement that universities are in cahoots with big business to supply cheap labor.
at the time we worked very hard to place students in good companies for more or less professional internships, not clerks in 711.



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OK I agree with this point.


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Some private unis have been doing just that.

Low standards indeed.


usually that face means there’s something contradictory happening. The competence of a child less than three years of age is generally equivalent to “incompetent”, but at least a three year old can learn as they grow up, provided adults don’t ruin their efforts to become independent humans.

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It is hilarious that the author of the article in the OP thinks the solution is changing the admissions process. OK, if the professors could just get students who are ready to be there and can largely teach themselves, they wouldn’t have a problem any more.

But that doesn’t solve the problem, except for the professors and in the easiest way possible for the professors!


Well, it’s nice that you did, but I know a lot of baristas at Starbucks and people selling luxury goods at Everrich stores that are “interning” full time, for minimum wage. If you’re majoring in hospitality, I suppose you could make the case that an “internship” in a position that anyone of legal working age can do, even with no education at all, but these are not hospitality majors. Even if they were, you’d think they would be shadowing managers and being sent to repair the boss’s Cuckoo clocks, not on the floor selling things and never interacting with the “higher ups”. Anyways, they’re majoring in English, education, computer science, etc. totally irrelevant to hospitality things. They’re being used to fill positions with the threat that they won’t graduate if they don’t do that minimum wage work. It’s not teaching them life skills. It’s forcing them to do menial work in order to obtain something else entirely.

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