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June 09
2014 年 6 月 9日

22K 究竟是怎麼一回事?

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台灣社會今天對大學的一種看法是:大學生普遍程度較以前差。

大學生嘮叨多,藉口也多,畢業後謀職困難。如果找到工作,往往起薪只有22K

研究所招生不足,即使某些名校的博士班,都少人、甚至無人報考。

以上評價未必完全正確。然而,在鬧人才荒之際,高學歷者從事攤販工作的反而愈來愈多。到底是怎麼一回事呢?

其實,這些是統計問題,有脈絡可尋。以前只有百分之一、二十的高中畢業生有大學可讀,而今則是人人進大學。拿前面百分之一、二十的高中畢業生與百分之百的高中畢業生相比,當然今天大學生的程度好像「普遍」下降。進了大學,缺少品管,居然人人畢業!依同樣的道理,大學畢業生若只能靠著文憑,自以為高人一等、低職不就,心態不調整,找工作自然比以前的畢業生困難。就算找到了工作,因為程度「普遍」下降,「平均」起薪當然不高。

畢業了許多大學生,台灣反而鬧人才荒,這是因為平均主義作祟、學位灌水、供需有落差的緣故,不必天文物理學家都容易了解的道理!由於名實不符,有菲律賓的大學畢業生出國幫傭,正好為現況做了註腳。當文憑滿天飛,穀賤傷農,大學當然是個低價的符號,畢業後學非所用、擺攤做生意,不值得大量報導。能力與性向的誤導,埋沒了不少學位以外的個人才能,再加以配合不上社會的需求,以致「遊覽車司機搶手,月薪七萬找嘸人」;難怪社會上充滿了有志難酬的「大學生」,嘮叨不多才稀奇。

幾年前,台灣的研究所一夜之間大量膨脹,當初還有大專改制後的講師就讀博士班。如今完成階段性的任務之後,後繼無人,報考博士班者寥寥可數,也沒什麼好稀奇了。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年5月15日)。


Can we break the 22K spell?

The quality of Taiwanese university graduates in recent years is generally lower than that of graduates from the past, which is a view shared by Taiwan society today.

With too many complaints and excuses, today's university graduates encounter many difficulties finding a job after graduation, and even if they are fortunate enough to secure one, very often a starting salary of about NT$22,000 (HK$5,678) per month is all they can expect.

Also, the enrolment at many graduate schools is declining, and no, or very few, graduates pursue doctoral studies, even at some renowned universities.

The above observation may not be entirely valid. On the contrary, in this period of talent scarcity, the number of stall-keepers with higher education credentials is increasing. Why?

In my opinion, the (wrong) impression can be explained by means of some statistics, and that situation can be traced to its real cause. Previously only 10 to 20% of high-school leavers could go to university while nowadays almost 100% can. So it is not strange to find that the level of competence among current university graduates is generally lower than in earlier generations when we compare the 10 to 20% with 100%. And to make things worse, due to the lack of quality control, almost every student can graduate from university or college. As a result, university or college graduates today naturally find it harder than graduates in the past to land suitable jobs if they equip themselves only with a diploma, together with choosiness and a sense of superiority. Even if they secure a job, the starting salary could be quite low because generally speaking most of them are not competent enough.

Therefore, on the one hand, there are so many university graduates available in Taiwan, while, on the other, society is suffering from a shortage of the necessary talent. The reason behind this situation is so simple that the average person can understand: egalitarianism, lowered value of the tertiary education degree, and an imbalance between demand and supply.

It is said that some Filipino university graduates have to go abroad to work as domestic helpers. This case can serve to explain the current situation in Taiwan.

When a college diploma can be obtained easily, its value will of course depreciate, and thus college graduates become a kind of low-end product. It won't make newsworthy reportage when a person's education credentials fail to qualify him or her for a certain job and that person has to earn a living as a stall-keeper. Also, negative perceptions about a person's competence or aptitude, combined with a general failure to meet societal needs, makes it harder for those really talented people without college diplomas to get recognition. Subsequently, job ads saying things like "NT$70,000/month—tourist bus driver needed" fail to attract applicants, which goes some distance to explaining why so many university graduates grumble at having no chance to pursue their dreams.

A couple of years ago, the number of graduate schools in Taiwan grew significantly within a very short period, with doctoral programmes set up for lecturers after the local vocational colleges where they used to teach were turned to regular tertiary institutions. When the "task" of such graduate schools was completed, it was not surprising to see few people applying for such doctoral programmes.

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (15 May, 2014).

June 9, 2014

 

 

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