Thursday, July 15, 2010
My Long-An Education was not good enough!
My last two years of primary school education was at Long-an. In the fifties, and today, the education in Taiwan is following the 6-3-3-4 system; that is: we have 6 years of primary school, 3 years of junior high, 3 years of senior high and 4 years of college. In 1950, the compulsory education was only 6 years; you had to take an entrance examination at every stage to proceed to the next level. Today, the compulsory education has been extended by three more years. Therefore, you no longer need to take an entrance exam in order to attend junior high school. In 1951, I graduated from Long-an elementary school where I was second in my class. My parents were quite proud of my record. My father told me that I should have no problem in taking the entrance examination and that I would surely be able to enter some junior high school in the city. Clearly, with many adults telling me so, I was full of confidence that I should be able to go to a city high school the following fall!
In late August, I took an entrance exam for one school after another in the heat of the Taiwan summer. I do not even remember now how many exams I took. My parents were sure that I would be accepted by some school! A week or so after an exam, each high school would post the names of students who had passed the exams and been admitted to the school; some students names were also listed on the waiting list. I went to the post of every school and my name was not on any of the lists. It did not matter how many times I read the posts, I just could not find my name anywhere. It was terrible; I lost all my confidence. The reality sank heavily into every cell of my body. In April of the next year, I wrote in my memory book the word "SWEAR", meaning that I vowed "never again" to have that empty feeling!
My father found in the Newspaper that there was one more junior high school in the county (outside Taipei City) advertising for students to register for its entrance examination. This was my last chance to continue my education that year. Otherwise I would have to wait for the next year's entrance exams and do this all over again! The school was Ban-qiao junior high. You had to take two trains (with one transfer) to get there, and it took about 45 minutes from my home to get there - each way. I took the entrance exam without any confidence at that point. The week after the exam was tough; I had to wait as quietly as I could at home. When the time came to see the posting of the list, again I went with my father and there was quite a crowd there under the list. He found my name first, and I had to make sure that it was exactly my name with every stroke properly included. I would be a junior high school student after all!
Since it was clear than Long-an"s education just did not prepare me properly, Dean was transferred to another school the next fall!