NATIONAL CHENG KUNG UNIVERSITY, TAINAN, TAIWAN
BANYAN  Research Express@NCKU
Volume 2 Issue 9 - December 28, 2007
Commentary
Michael M.C. Lai
NCKU President Michael M.C. Lai Outlines a Vision for University Education in Taipei
Article Digest
Hsin-Hsi Lai
User-oriented design for the optimal combination on product design
Wen-Chau Liu
A Novel Pt/In0.52Al0.48As Schottky Diode-Type Hydrogen Sensor
Yao-Hui Huang
Thermodynamics and kinetics of adsorption of Cu(II) onto waste iron oxide
Jong-Shin Huang
Creep-buckling of hexagonal honeycombs with plateau borders
Article Digest
Shih-Chieh Fang
Isomorphic Pressures, Institutional Strategies and Knowledge Creation in the Health Care Sector
F.-Z. Shaw
Facilitation of sensory and motor recovery by thermal intervention for the hemiplegic upper limb in stroke patients
News Release
News
Nanocapsule Contrast Agents: New Medical Discovery by NCKU Professor Chen-Sheng Yeh of Chemistry
Opportunities
Activities
Editorial Group
NCKU President Michael M.C. Lai Outlines a Vision for University Education in Taipei
President Michael M.C. Lai


Father of Corona Virus and NCKU President Michael M.C. Lai attended the 20th anniversary celebration of Taipei NCKU Alumni Association on December 15th in Taipei; he gave a talk on the “New Goals of Modern University Education” at the Cheng Kung Lecture. He stated that the goals of local university education (undergraduate) should be equally aimed at humanity and professional training, establish the general education that covers various disciplines, and emphasize creativity, international perspective, entrepreneurship, leadership, communicating skills, social responsibility, and care for humanity. These are also NCKU’s goals of education.

President Lai said that the university system in Taiwan today is for all; everyone can go to university and graduate, and almost no one would be eliminated. However, the pressure of college entrance examination does not seem to be reduced but intensified. From kindergarten to senior high school, to university, even to graduate school, there are always cram schools specifically designed to train student’s test-taking skills. University graduates having been trained this way are not what the society expects or needs, and are not the global citizens that can adapt themselves to the future. Therefore, university students should go after their interests and not be pushed around by the trend; they should not be worried about making “the wrong” choice, either. Rather, they should try out more new disciplines, focus on general education, enhance training in humanity and develop excellent communicating skills.

When talking about the development of university education, President Lai said that classical literature was emphasized before the 19th century, and it led to a high class society, resonating with the Renaissance values. After 1870, it then changed to emphasize new knowledge and encourage academic research and invention. There were majors and minors, and a bachelor’s degree became the ultimate goal of learning. Then, beginning in 1960s, a bachelor’s degree became merely a preparatory degree, while most students did not begin taking professional training until graduate school.

President Lai further added that the Harvard University in the 17th century, for example, aimed to cultivate gentlemen with the Renaissance characters for the society. After the 19th century, universities in the West began to learn the tradition of French and German universities, emphasizing academic research. They became keen on discovering new knowledge of the nature and human, and university professors and students were encouraged to do research. That was the research university that we are familiar with. University graduates joined every walk of life, and some universities started to set up graduate schools to offer more advanced programs for those graduates to learn to be better scholars, scientists, engineers or business managers.

Later, with an explosive growth in information and knowledge, the professional training that a university could offer had to become more specific and restricted, and the knowledge and skills became outdated very soon. Consequently, one could not have success alone in a field with what one had learned in university, but had to depend largely on one’s ability of self-learning. One should also have good training in humanity, and the ability to integrate knowledge, constantly learn new things and broaden one’s view and horizon. The goal of university education has turned back to general education and training in humanity in recent decades, so that university graduates can adapt to the ever-changing society better.

Based on his experience of doing research in American academic institutes for more than 30 years, he pointed out clearly the educational differences between Taiwan and America. He said that our educational system features standardized textbooks and courses, reflexive learning and test-taking methods (multiple-choice questions), repetitive memorizing and reviewing, and cramming-style teaching. These features may be suitable for basic training, but it lacks creativity and leads to the phenomenon that elementary school and high school are difficult, and university is easy. That is the opposite of the system in the US, where it is easy in primary and middle schools and difficult in university. US educational system encourages creativity (independent thinking), synthetic ability (thesis writing), and freedom to express oneself. If we want the local universities to exploit their educational functions, we must first rectify the concept shared by many students that university is easy.

Copyright National Cheng Kung University