Top University in Taiwan Demands Fully English Courses to Attract Foreign Students

Top University in Taiwan Demands Fully English Courses to Attract Foreign Students
Why you need to know

The new policy issued by National Chengchi University (NCCU) has angered professors and has been criticized widely since it demands new teachers to provide fully English courses.

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Compiled and translated by Yuan-ling Liang

National Chengchi University (NCCU) recently announced its new policy demanding all newly hired teachers to offer at least two courses fully in English every school year.

The Personnel Office of NCCU released the announcement this January and it reads that all the new recruited teachers should offer English Taught Courses (ETC) every semester to promote students’ competence and internationalization. All the departments should cooperate with the school and help design the ETC programs. Since there are two semesters each school year, every teacher should offer at least two fully English courses annually.

Professors stand up against the policy

After the decision was made, many professors at NCCU criticized such a policy for being xenophilic. Some professors think the policy would weaken students’ cognition towards globalization and the way they perceive the world. Since English is not the only international language, this move is considered to be buttering up English-speaking students.

Feng Chien-san, professor of the College of Communication at NCCU, writes an open letter to the principle of NCCU saying, “You are obviously acting at your discretion.”

Feng points out that it is good to combine students’ learning with their language abilities, but this adds too much burden to the faculty.

“If the president wants to promote the students’ language abilities, he should hire foreign teachers and offer them salaries equal to other countries,” Feng says. It is very likely that the professors will spend too much time on preparing for English courses and devalue their profession.

Chen Jyh-huei, associate professor of the College of Law at NCCU, accuses the school of putting on a show of equality. “Not all the professors received their degree in English-speaking countries,” says Chen. He also says the decision is “a violation of academic freedom in disguise of university autonomy.”

Huang Hou-ming, associate professor of the Department of Sociology at NCCU, posts on his Facebook page questioning the necessity of the policy. Huang suspects the number of students that urgently need these courses.

“I really do not know if the policy suits students from departments such as Chinese Literature and Graduate Institute of Taiwan History. Is it really better for them to learn in English,” writes Huang.

Attracting international students is not enough

Some students tell the press that it is already overwhelming enough for them to study academic articles in Chinese and it can be even harder if they need to learn the material in English. Also, many students state that some professors can’t even pronounce and express well in English. The students may end up have to guess the original meaning and their learning would become less effective.

However, some people believe that the policy is necessary. A netizen called LeeAnAn posts on PTT, a Taiwanese online platform for sharing opinions, sharing his/her personal experience while he/she was a student at NCCU. He/She thinks it is obvious that the NCCU has already been on its path to becoming an “international university.”

The post says attracting foreign students is not enough and interaction between these students and local ones should be promoted. The netizen believes that offering lectures in English can help achieve this goal.

NCCU has signed plenty of academic contracts with universities around the world with the current total amount adding up to 422 and in 66 different countries. The proportion of foreign students at NCCU also ranks first among all the universities in Taiwan.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
China Times
China Times
Liberty Times
ETToday
Ming Pao

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