Friday, April 01, 2011

Taiwanese Students Have Demands, Too

In the past year, the world has seen marching in the streets by students from California to Germany, from the UK to Wisconsin, and throughout Latin America. Now, students in Taiwan are demanding one of the most basic amenities of all—housing.

In a country where “having a college degree, or even a postgraduate -degree, is considered necessary to obtain employment, issues such as increasing tuition, lengthening years of education and rising dormitory fees place an even greater burden on students.”

The article below focuses on housing needs of students, but as Taiwan is one of the prime destinations of international students studying mandarin Chinese, it raises issues about long as well as short term priorities in the country.–KAS

More dormitories needed, student rights group says
By Hu Ching-hui / Staff Reporter TAIPEI TIMES
Sat, Mar 26, 2011 – Page 3

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2011/03/26/2003499158

By allowing colleges to increase student capacity, but not requiring the schools to build more dormitories to house them, the Ministry of Education is forcing the majority of students to live off-campus, the College Student Rights Research and Evaluation Group said yesterday.

The group said that according to statistics from the ministry, total student head-counts across the nation’s junior colleges and vocational schools show an increase of 100,000 students between 2002 and last year, bringing the total up to 134,3603.

However, school dormitories only increased accommodation by less than 20,000 beds during that time. About 80,000 college students over those eight years were unable to get a dorm, the group said.

The group conducted a survey of 65 universities. Ninety percent of the universities were unable to satisfy student dormitory requirements, leaving the students to sort out who gets to live in the dormitories by dint of lottery or seniority, the group said the survey showed.

The group said that while in today’s world having a college degree, or even a postgraduate -degree, is considered necessary to obtain employment, issues such as increasing tuition, lengthening years of education and rising dormitory fees place an even greater burden on students.

DEADLY FIRE

The groups said that a recent fire broke out in an off-campus apartment that left one National Dong Hua University student dead and nine injured could be partly attributed to the school’s lack of on-campus housing.

In light of the Dong Hua fire, the group proposed that the ministry and the various junior and vocational colleges across the country build more dormitories for their students.

RISING COSTS

However, the group added that it is opposed to plans for universities to build more on-campus housing via a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, citing the BOT dormitory at National Taiwan University as an example.

“Higher dormitory costs become a heavier burden on the students rather than alleviating them and it harms the students’ rights to live in a common-priced dormitory,” the group said.

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