Spring Semester Draws to a Close
The classrooms and corridors at CTBC International Academy are noticeably quieter already in this, the eighteenth and final week of the semester. Some students have taken early leave to begin summer travel or other plans. The ones still present have vacation on the mind, although some are completing makeup work for missed assignments during the term. CIA rules require missed work to be completed in the final two weeks of the semester in order to receive credits for the course.
Teachers are also busy correcting exams, essays, and other assessments as well as writing student reports to send home to parents. What students sometimes forget is that instructors look forward to the summer vacation as much as students do. Some will entertain overseas guests while others will return to their home countries to visit family and friends. Still others will use the time to travel around Taiwan or to other Asian countries or to just relish the downtime at home. In any case, the atmosphere during the final week is always a mixture of anticipation, excitement, impatience, and closure.
Water Crisis Averted
Southern Taiwan came very close to serious water rationing this past month. On June 14, the water level at Zengwen Reservoir was at about 5% of capacity while Nanhua Reservoir had reached near 14%. These reservoirs are two main water supplies for southern Taiwan. A dry winter and spring and the failure of the May “plum” rains had left Tainan City in Stage 1 water rationing and in real danger of Stage 2 being implemented.
However, on June 14 the skies opened up and the rain poured down. A southwest monsoon began to pull warm, moist air from the south and torrential downpours hit most of southern Taiwan for eight or nine days straight. The rain not only began to replenish the reservoirs but also provided relief from searing early summer heat.
The rains have ended for now, but typhoons will surely bring more bouts of torrential downpours during the summer and fall.
A crisis was narrowed avoided, but it is a wakeup call to people not to take their water supplies for granted. People should always use water carefully, whether at home, on farms, or other businesses. The Taiwan government also needs to put more thought into water management. The country’s water supply relies solely on capturing rainwater in a series of reservoirs. Many reservoirs have silted up and now hold much less water than originally planned. In addition, climate change in recent years has made summers hotter and rain less reliable.
Therefore, now is the time to rethink how the nation’s people will be served with water. We only need to look at what happened in Cape Town this spring. This South African city of about 4 million was given a zero day, a deadline when the city would run out of water after years of drought and below average rainfall. Only the arrival of rain saved the city from having to turn off the taps. The local government did not listen to the warnings of scientists who predicted that the city would run into water shortages. Taiwan must learn from this lesson and prepare now. The country must capture more water or invest in other ways to create drinking water. Existing supplies also need to be used with greater care. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Fall at CIA
What will fall bring at CIA? More students? New teachers? Rumours abound but no clear answers have been given. The school is recruiting students for the next semester. Attractions of the school include being able to choose what courses to study, dorms, and quality teachers with a range of qualifications and experience. Students have also mentioned that they like the reduced emphasis on tests and exams. Also available is a spacious campus with soccer, basketball, tennis, golf, kayaking, and indoor sports facilities in a relatively quiet area outside Tainan City.
This, the inaugural year at CIA, featured many bumps along the way, but that is to be expected of a new operation. The challenges of the past year will hopefully be learned from and improved upon for the next school year. With declining student numbers, Taiwanese schools must provide value, uniqueness, and above all quality education in order to stay viable.
Students enjoy the last week of classes