Is Buxiban Necessary to Students?
In Taiwan, it is widely believed that students should go to buxibans, or cram schools, for supplementary courses after regular campus hours. Despite the passing of 12-Year compulsory education law（十二年國教法案）, which was supposed to help lower students' burden from tests and exams, more and more parents send their children to buxibans to maintain their academic competiveness in school. “I think cram schools can help students improve and perform better academically,” said Tian-yi Wang（王天儀）, a parent of a junior high school student. Parents tend to worry about their children’s grades in school and they would try all means to help their kids remain competitive with their peers of the same age. However, this is also where the pressure comes from. “My parents were afraid that I would lose at the starting point if I don’t study more, and this makes me stressful after a whole day in school,” said Shen-you Hsu（徐慎祐）, a junior high school student. Students go to school regularly from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a weekly basis, and they often rush to buxibans afterwards and return home at around 9 to 10 p.m. This typical lifestyle often deprives students of their leisure hours, resulting in no spare time with their family and the vicious circle of having to stay up late. Sending children to cram schools is not the only way to help them study better, and parents should have more communication with their children so as to decide which way is proper to themselves.
With the motivation to promote egalitarianism（平等主義）in the education system, Taiwan has passed the 12-year-compulsory education law but is still carrying out high school admission tests, which is known as Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students（國中教育會考）, so most students shall remain stressed after the change.
According to Chun-chi Ye（葉峻旗）, who has been teaching Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry at the junior high to senior high level in buxiban for 13 years, said that students are still pursuing for the admission in better high schools even the educational system has altered. “Some of my students not only came for regular courses but also for the enhancement of their composition skills since the new exam includes writing. What’s more, one of my students even comes to buxiban from Monday to Saturday. It is harsh,” Ye said.
In order to stand out strong in the high school application, some students are forced to learn musical instruments, while others take part in a variety of competitions or student clubs. Ye pointed out that this phenomenon is unfair to those who do not have access to extra learning and has violated the 12-YearCompulsory Education’s goal – equality. “Personally, I prefer the former method of high school admission test known as The Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students（國中基本學力測驗）, for students are judged by how hard they dedicate themselves academically rather than the amount of certificates they have. The former method is less demanding in comparison to the new test.” Ye said.
One Size Might Not Fit All.
Learning is just like buying clothes, people can select suitable clothes for themselves. As the saying goes, one size might not fit all. The phenomenon of having increasing number of students attending cram schools after the education reform led to introspection on education.
Yu-nan Chou（周雨枏）was a graduate of National Taiwan University (NTU). During senior high school, Chou was one of the few students who did not go to cram school in her class. Chou said, “I was not the best student in my class, but I could pass exams easily simply by studying teachers’ handouts. What’s more, I thought that a cram school was only a place where students meet new friends.
Wei-chu Wang（汪惟楚）, a student studying Economics in NTU, pointed that students should find out their learning weakness and search for proper approaches to improve themselves. According to Wang’s experience, having better methods of studying helped raise her poor history grades significantly. Wang asked a history teacher to provide her some helpful tips. “I felt puzzled and confused about how to deal with the subject. Luckily, the teacher taught me how to solve the problem, which greatly improved my grades. Almost all my classmates went to cram schools at the time and their learning techniques were mostly the rote learning,” Wang shared.
There are still many excellent students who perform well on exams without remediation from cram schools. In a nutshell, there are always better ways of learning and we shall tap into those successful learners’ studying experiences and strategies and help more students in Taiwan.