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ROTC courses won't be reduced at NTU

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- “We won't reduce ROTC courses,” Colonel Chen Kuo-ching said yesterday. Chen, who heads the Reserve Officers Traing Corps section at National Taiwan University (NTU), lamented only four instructors, including himself, are now left to teach an estimated 9,700 “cadets.”

When the ROTC training was first offered in the 1960s, there were altogether 48 instructors, all of them on active service. The Ministry of Education has slashed the training courses over the years. Though severely undermanned, Colonel Chen said, his ROTC section would manage to offer at least four courses to all those undergraduate students who sign up.

Together with a brief course of military training they received in high school, a college graduate with four ROTC courses completed may have their military service reduced by one month.

That's why the ROTC training is still quite popular in colleges and universities. The fact, however, is that the courses offered, unlike those in U.S. universities, are not to prepare students to become officers when they are conscripted.

“Well,” Colonel Chen said, “each of us will have to instruct more than 300 students per course.” “We'll do our best,” he promised.

National Taiwan University is the only institute of higher learning in Taiwan to phase out ROTC training, which is considered “a symbol of autocracy” even by the education ministry.

Other universities keep more than 10 ROTC instructors each.

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