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Education minister defends plan to cancel school entrance exams

2012/08/14 20:55:36

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) Education cannot focus only on academic abilities, Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling said Tuesday amid continuing calls not to abolish high school entrance exams in 2014 as planned.

Exams can no longer meet the needs of Taiwan's young people who must face the challenges of a new generation, Chiang said during a meeting with educational officials.

"They need multi-faceted capabilities, not just academic ones," Chiang noted.

Other key elements needed include teamwork, communication skills, creativity and cultural appreciation, and the current exam system simply cannot instill them in students, Chiang added.

However, many members of public, including parents, have expressed a lack of confidence in the proposed new policy, which will evaluate school entrance applications based on a student's overall performance in fields other than academics.

Among the staunch opponents, Lee Chia-tung, an essayist and retired university professor, has said including social services in the evaluation process could result in students polishing their applications by undertaking volunteer work insincerely.

In response, the minister said students may start volunteering with a vested interest, but they might actually end up wanting to offer genuine care for the country's disadvantaged.

The current senior high school entrance exams will be abolished in 2014, and national education for students will be extended from nine to 12 years the same year.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Kendra Lin)