Do you want me to be standing up?I only conduct a test for us: how many of you are college students? Please lift your hand up. 123456… about 12.
How many college students want to be future leaders? 1234… I think we have more leaders than students.
I conducted this test about 6 years ago. There were more 100 students sitting in front of me.
Very few hands went out when I asked the question whether they will gonna be leader.
So time has changed. That’s good.
Today I want to talk about education, college education in Taiwan. We have several fundamental problems in Taiwan.
First one, there is mismatch of expectations. In 1990, about 21 20 years ago, there were only 600,000 college students at that time, 600,000 young men and women that were college students at that time. Now, there’re about 1.3 million , more double of the number of 20 years ago.
20 years ago, the parents all thought that college education for the children was a permanent meal ticket. Anybody that graduated from college would have a good job and would have a good life. Therefore, they tried very hard to send their kids to college.
Now, with almost double the number of college students and therefore graduates, keep in mind, this is the eligible age group actually has decreased because of decreased birth rate in Taiwan.
600,000 students in 1990 represented a smaller percentage of the eligible group than the 1.3 million. I wonder if I’m right. Now so more people are going to college now, and college education is no longer a permanent meal ticket. That’s first part.And young people getting out college couldn’t get a job, and they are getting disillusion.
The second problem we have is that we have mismatch of skills. There’re many jobs waiting, but there are fewer applicants that really have the skills. In the last 20 years, I think Taiwan has a very much elected trade education, trade training, trade schools.
Alright. And the third problem is that. We don’t really have good colleges that develop future leaders. Taida (NTU) is perhaps the best university we have in Taiwan, some people may argue that, but let’s assume that. But I think that NTU is still not the very good school in developing leaders.
Now I want to concentrate on that point, the point of a good school which develops leaders.I think it’s a liberal arts college. I think a good school which develops leaders is a liberal arts college.
And my role model for that kind of education would be the Oxford and Cambridge in the 19th century in England. And the Ivy League colleges, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford in 20th century.
In the 21st century, I think most of the good schools in the US, the one I mentioned, will continue to be good role models. And all of those, what I would consider liberal arts colleges. The undergraduate part, anyway, liberal arts colleges.
Now what does in liberal arts colleges do?I don’t think I can say it better than a report from the dean of Harvard college in 2006.
And I’ll just read it.
He said:“We commit ourselves to liberal education. Liberal education resumes a broad education that liberates the individual in several ways: by offering opportunities for foundational knowledge, reflection and analysis, artistic creativity, and an appreciation for the precession of the scientific concepts and experiments. It resists pleasures for early specialization and professionalization.”
I think that’s an important point: the liberal education resists pleasures for early specialization and professionalization. Professional education is in the proud tradition of many universities.” What you have in NTU is a professional education.It’s in the tradition of the universities.
Let me just continue on: “But it is not the mission of Harvard college. Our students will develop some significant parts of their time to special and concentrate to the thinking or learning.But we aspire a bubble that they graduate as curious, reflective and independent thinkers would a commitment to serve the wider world and a lifetime of learning still before them. That’s what we mean when we welcome our graduates to the fellowship of educated women and men.”
I really think that’s a soaring statement for liberal arts colleges, liberal education. Now, I think I got about five more minutes.What in my mind should the liberal arts college do in developing future leaders;
First of all, in admission. Here I’m speaking from my personal experience. I had spent just one year at Harvard undergraduate. And I have said many times since then that that was perhaps the most meaningful year I have in all my life. And what did I think so?I learnt just as much from fellow students as I did from the classroom, so fellow students are very important, a very important part of the education at the liberal arts colleges.
Therefore, I think the admission standards should not be just academic excellence. Admission standards, in fact, should weight more leadership traits and the kind of characteristics that Professor Greene just mentioned, ability to communicate with people, with other people, to work with other people and those things, and creativity, entrepreneurship, those kinds of things.
Now I think that has to be a very difficult job to set admission standards across these wide expectations of requirements, but I think it can be done.You know~I think colleges like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, they do do it.
And now, once you have that kind of admission standards, the students, when they come in, will find, they’ll learn more from their fellow students than even from the classroom. Now also, I think the student body should be diversified: foreign students, students from all kinds of families. I think that’s very important, too. I think that, naturally, the faculty, the school, the college administrators must share the same philosophy that this is a liberal arts college; this is a place where they intend to develop future leaders of society.
I think it should be requirement for undergraduates to live in dormitories. You need to…I think the undergraduates have to spend all the time in school.
I think the dormitories should serve not just as a place to sleep; to sleepingDormitories should be a place for the students to live, for the student to live, to study, to socialize, and not just a place to live in.so I think a lot of universities spend what money they get on research equipment and so on.I said: why don’t you spend some on improving your dormitories?
And , student activities.They should definitely include studying,they should definitely include things like P.E. sports, the other speaking, debating, and culture activities as well. Those are the undergraduate four years are very valuable, golden four years.And let’s use them to stimulate the students’ mind to just as the statement I read: create educated men and women, create their independent thinking ability, their lifetime learning, lifelong learning habit, develop their curiosity, their reflective ability etc.