Joined: 27 May 2008
|Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:39 pm Post subject: Economic fears rise in Taiwan
|If I was a teacher, I think Taiwan would be the last place I'd wanna be right now. Just stumbled across an article which states the consequences of a falling birth rate:
The low birth rate is also hitting children's care centres, kindergartens and primary schools.
According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, 370 day-care and 186 after-school care centres, plus 98 kindergartens, had to close down in the last five years.
'We used to have around 250 to 300 students per semester but now we are left with fewer than 100,' said Yang Yi-yu, whose kindergarten in Taoyuan county is struggling to avoid going out of business, like many of its former competitors.
The decline in the birth rate has also resulted in a reduction in the average number of primary school pupils per teacher from 18.3 in 2004 to 16.1 last year. This is expected to force elementary and junior high schools to cut the number of classrooms in use by at least 1,000 in the next three years.
'Having fewer students means the suspension of classes and the lay-off of teachers,' said Liao Chun-jen, former vice-chairman of the National Teachers' Association.
As there will be 100,000 fewer students by 2021, according to the Education Ministry's estimate, 'many universities and colleges are bound to face financial problems because of the low birth rate impact', Education Minister Wu Ching-chi said. About 60 of Taiwan's 164 universities and colleges may be forced to shut down.
Once the domino effect kicks in, shops and other businesses relying on pupils will suffer - then housing and domestic consumption - as supply will far exceed demand, population experts warn. Taiwan's competitiveness in the global market would decline and this could affect the very survival of the island, they said.
Interior Vice-Minister Chien Tai-lang estimated that Taiwan's population, currently 23 million, could start falling after 2017. Economists say lost manpower or brainpower will hamper the island's ability to keep up with its industrialised Asian neighbours in 10 to 15 years.
'A sharp drop in the labour force could result in a massive decline in productivity, which would affect the economic and industrial development of Taiwan,' economist Wu Hui-lin said.
Another issue is that the lack of children raises the average age of the island's population. If nothing changes, each working person in Taiwan will have to support 1.5 retired elderly people by 2056 and half of the people would be well over 57 years old, said Professor Chen Kuan-jeng of the health care management department at Chang Gung University.
'This means the government would not only receive less revenue from individual income tax, but it would also have to spend more for the welfare of the elderly,' he said.
No amount of government spin can hide the truth that Taiwan's days are numbered. Mr Sun Te-hsiung, former chairman of the Population Association of Taiwan. puts the matter succinctly, when he says: "'If this condition does not change, Taiwan will be destroyed naturally without even needing an enemy . . . "