Scott Sommers’ Taiwan Blog

The Dark Side of Liberalizing Education

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott Sommers on May 19, 2009

Today’s Taipei Times features an article about the use of alcohol advertisements at National Taiwan University. The article cites dean of NTU’s College of Sports and Recreation Cho Chun-chen (卓俊辰) that

the school had to accept sponsorship from a liquor company for this year’s National Intercollegiate Athletic Games because it was short NT$60 million (US$1.8 million) and could not find other sponsors.

In response, Vice Minister of Education Lu Mu-lin (呂木琳) is cited as saying the Ministry considered alcohol advertisements on campus

“inappropriate,” adding that it was the position of the ministry that students should stay away from alcohol. “Although schools are required to raise funds by themselves, they should nevertheless do so in an appropriate manner,” Lu said. “After all, it’s not like schools are private businesses,” Lu said.

Personally, I’m a little surprised by Assistant Minister Lu’s reaction. Of course his attitude is completely consistent with the historical interpretation of schools. But it is widely known that universities in Taiwan are underfunded in comparison with those in highly industrialized states. As I reported here, faculty salaries are at the same level as those found in India. The current trend toward forcing financial independence on schools has only made the matter more serious. The Ministry imagines us streamlining our budgets or the emergence of all kinds of innovative ways of getting our hands on cash. NTU came up with one of these, and it was only time until this happened.


One Response

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  1. christylin said, on December 1, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Maybe it’s time the school be given a sense of accountability and more financial assistance, rather than a reprimand. If NTU is meant to be public, the minister should own up to some responsibility in this issue. If resorting to an alcohol sponsor is so bad, why isn’t the MOE doing anything about it? This is what happens when the authority lines aren’t clearly delineated, and universities are left to pick up the financial slack. In essence, NTU is being treated as a private institution (having to consider its reputation and fiscal budget) in this situation as it has had to resort to “desperate” measures of funding.

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