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Cut-throat competition increases as student numbers fall . .

 
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:58 pm    Post subject: Cut-throat competition increases as student numbers fall . . Reply with quote

It seems that the falling birth rate in Taiwan is leading some desperate Buxiban owners to use violence to wipe out competition in the area. A recent headline in the China Post reads:'Cram school proprietor accused of gangsterism.' The article explains:

The owner of a cram school in Greater Taichung was arrested Tuesday over accusations that he physically assaulted and threatened local competitors on several occasions.

And why did the owner do this? Well, . . .

According to the Taichung Supplementary Education Enterprise Association, as a result of the country’s dwindling fertility rate, the supplemental education market for high-school students preparing for college entrance examinations in Taichung has shrunk dramatically, causing fierce competition in an already saturated market.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/08/16/2003540436
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52skidoo



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing that. In taipei many of these kind of stories go untold. While I haven't seen any physical violence take place, I have heard of rival schools sending in children posed as students who intentionally gather information on their rival, behave badly, get good teachers into trouble by lieing, call the police to raid a school, etc.
I taught in buxibans for several years, let me tell you it's not easy. Besides all that most managers are incompetent, parents have unreasonable expectations, and co workers are constantly back stabbing anyone they are jealous of for being a good teacher.
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

52skidoo wrote:
" . . . co workers are constantly back stabbing anyone they are jealous of for being a good teacher.


This is a particular problem for foreigners working in both buxibans and universities because the local Taiwanese English teachers are pissed that they get less pay and holiday time than their western counterparts. The Taiwanese quite reasonably feel that they are discriminated against in their own country and lash out at their foreign competitors. And with the birth rate falling, this situation is becoming worse because all teachers are worried about losing their jobs. Taiwan would be the last place on earth I'd choose to work.
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foreign teachers at universities getting holiday pay? Sure, maybe a select "few" get holiday pay, but the vast majority of "English instructors" at universities have no job over the holidays and receive absolutely ZERO income.
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

creztor wrote:
Foreign teachers at universities getting holiday pay? Sure, maybe a select "few" get holiday pay, but the vast majority of "English instructors" at universities have no job over the holidays and receive absolutely ZERO income.


Well, things used to be better back in the palmy days, but with the falling birth rate and the inability of colleges and universities to put bums on seats the situation is reaching crisis point. I really can't understand why any foreigner would seek employment at either a buxiban or university in Taiwan when there is so much back-stabbing among staff, much of it stirred up by management who are looking for ways to offload expensive foreign teachers. Allied to this of course are the dreadful salaries and, as you mention, the "zero income" over the summer holidays.
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forest1979



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 507
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romanworld - Crisis point in Taiwan education?

Please back this hugely important point up with solid evidence. I am sure the evidence you provide can objectify the issues raised in this and other threads.

Posters will be most grateful for the facts you can back yourself up with.
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am glad you acknowledged that you were incorrect about Taiwanese university teachers being jealous about holiday pay. Good on you.
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

forest1979 wrote:
Romanworld - Crisis point in Taiwan education?

Please back this hugely important point up with solid evidence. I am sure the evidence you provide can objectify the issues raised in this and other threads.

Posters will be most grateful for the facts you can back yourself up with.


Well, the very fact that Taiwan has the lowest birth rate in the world is the only "solid evidence" you need, isn't it?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14525525

If Taiwan doesn't produce more babies, then there won't be any new students and therefore no tertiary sector. In fact, there won't be a Taiwan! Of course, Taiwan has attempted to import international students, especially from China, but many of these students will only come to Taiwan if they are given a scholarship. Basically Taiwan is competing with other 'brands' that are considered more respectable. These brands are not located in Taiwan, but in Europe, North America, and Australasia. The question is: Who really wants a degree from a Taiwanese university that will have no power in the marketplace upon graduation? Taiwan is entering this international market, but it is a last ditched attempt by its HE sector at survival. An online article at insidehighered.com highlights some of the problems:

The second reason is demographic. As Taiwan’s population, currently about the same as Australia’s, plateaus and then declines, pressure to find students will increase. Supply is already outstripping demand, and at least a quarter of Taiwan’s colleges could face closure by 2020, for lack of students. It is already the case that almost any Taiwanese who finishes high school, can gain access to higher education.

There is another target market that some in Taiwan are keen to exploit. Across the Taiwan straits, barely 130 kilometres away, lies the huge mainland Chinese market. With almost 30 million students enrolled, China is easily the largest higher education system, worldwide. But quality varies greatly, and not all can gain admission to their chosen institution, or major. Taiwan can offer instruction in Mandarin, well-stocked libraries in the language, and access to many teachers with degrees from US or UK universities. (Rather fewer have their degrees from Australia).

But cross-straits relations are never simple, and Taiwan has been slow to open the door to mainland students. Taiwan allocated 2,000 places to mainland students in 2011, but less than half were filled – only 928. This is partly because China only allows students from a handful of provinces or cities to enrol in Taiwan – Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong. By contrast, as pointed out by Ye Kedong, of mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, China allows Taiwanese students to enrol in 215 mainland universities. 4,700 Taiwanese students took up these opportunities last year.

At least as important are lingering political reservations in Taiwan, which make it complex and difficult for mainland students to enrol in Taiwanese institutions. Some Taiwanese, too, argue that mainland students are there to rob Taiwan of its educational resources. The press is also not entirely supportive. Provision of health insurance, and allowing mainland students to take up internships after graduating from Taiwanese universities are further issues to be solved, although rules on the latter were recently relaxed by the Ministry of Education. But the warming of cultural and economic relations since Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was elected President in 2008 makes solving these issues somewhat easier. His re-election in 2012 also augurs well.

Talking to international students, and local and international professors, last week, highlighted internal issues that may be a bigger barrier. All point to the apathy of many local Taiwanese students, who regularly turn up late to class, bring their breakfast which they consume in class, and then spend time on their iPhones or iPads, to the neglect of their academic work. Such attitudes do not make for a lively academic atmosphere. Some Indonesian students, too, lament the lack of understanding of their needs, in particular for prayer rooms on campus, and provision of Halal food.


Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/taiwan-enters-fray#ixzz24rloWHtq
Inside Higher Ed
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forest1979



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 507
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see the points that highlight a crisis.

The broad decline in the birth rate has been going on for years.

The apathy of students is well-known.

Wouldn't it be more applicable to say Taiwan under changes by the DPP introduced too many higher education institutions too quickly, and consequently this poses challenges with regards to:

1. Maintaining student numbers - presently more than 90% of all high school leavers go to college, and this is no doubt an unsustainable number.
2. Quality of students entering into colleges
3. Issues of teacher numbers, do they have too many teachers and if so when and how will numbers be cut? How in the future will they recruit
4. The relevance of existing curricula to the workplace, and who does the teaching.

In relation to #4 as I have said before a marked change is now apparent in Taiwan: the future of English teaching at the university level lies with the Taiwanese and not with foreigners. And for the cynical, the future of English teaching is in the medium of Chinese. But this already happens in many, many colleges already.

Crisis...no!

Deep challenges...yes!
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

forest1979 wrote:
The broad decline in the birth rate has been going on for years.


Yes, but the effects of this "broad decline" are now starting to have dire results for teachers. The Minister for Housing for example wants to turn idle classrooms into housing units. OK, not a bad idea and a solution for some, but this doesn't bode well for the future of HE in Taiwan.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/04/17/2003530557

Actually, many Taiwanese academics see the writing on the wall and have decided to set sail for China. Allied to the shortage of students, there is the additional problem of the brain drain and the fact that Taiwan is losing all its entrepreneurial talent to its adversary. How can Taiwan get out of this mess without any creative pioneers to lead the way?

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/08/07/2003539670

Quote:
Crisis...no!

Deep challenges...yes!


So, which one is it? A quote from the above article has this to say:

The National Science Council initiated a conference yesterday in which scientific advisers to the council will discuss a growing brain drain crisis that is threatening Taiwan’s economic and technological development.

The word used here is "crisis". I think it's the appropriate word to use.
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forest1979



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 507
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday's conference is a usual, non-descript event.

It has been known for 9-10 years about the declining birth rate and rather than be proactive Taiwan's politicians sit back for that time and bicker about how to decide how to respond to such trends. Put yesterday's event in that category.

I don't see any significance in the event, nor do I see a crisis.

I see a decline but crisis point, no. The Taipei Times is hardly a bed of expert discourse on this matter.

The overall challenge of higher education has been known for a long time but with many institutions being of such a poor quality it would be more apt to question where is the improvement, rather than any indication of loss amongst once top-end colleges.
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

forest1979 wrote:
It has been known for 9-10 years about the declining birth rate and rather than be proactive Taiwan's politicians sit back for that time and bicker about how to decide how to respond to such trends.


What about a proactive breeding program akin to Lebensborn?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensborn

Might just do the job?
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Solar Strength



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 552
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

creztor wrote:
...the vast majority of "English instructors" at universities have no job over the holidays and receive absolutely ZERO income.


Really? Is that true of your university or the universities you have worked at in the past?

My friends teaching at universities in Taiwan get paid during both the summer and winter vacations, so I'm surprised by what you've written.

However, one of my friends is teaching at a university in China and does NOT get paid during the summer vacation, which is nearly 3 months long.
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solar Strength, I am not saying people working at universities don't get holiday pay, but it is naturally only paid to full-time lecturers. Part-time lecturers, which were I work vastly out number full-time, do not get paid because we simply have no classes over the holidays.
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