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University teaching staff to be reduced by 10,000 by 2023

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:53 pm    Post subject: University teaching staff to be reduced by 10,000 by 2023 Reply with quote

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Taiwan plans to cut enrollment at universities and graduate institutes by around 35 percent over the next decade due to a shrinking population caused by a notoriously low birth rate.

Enrollment targets in undergraduate and doctoral programs are looking at 40 percent cuts, the Ministry of Education said Thursday at a conference of university presidents.

Taiwan only saw 1.065 births per woman in 2013, but experts say a rate of 2.1 births per woman is necessary to keep the population from shrinking.

Huang Wen-ling (黃雯玲), head of the Department of Higher Education, said that she is expecting enrollment to begin falling sharply in 2016.

Enrollment in the year 2023 could be 310,000 people fewer than the figures recorded in 2013, according to Huang, which Huang estimated means a NT$30 billion (US$947 million) reduction in tuition revenues.

In addition, teaching staff employed by higher education institutes is expected to be reduced by 10,000 by 2023, Huang said.

The specific figures break down as follows:

Enrollment could plummet to 233,093 in 2023, a drop of 35.84 percent from 2013's 363,324.

The number of bachelors students in particular is expected to fall to 182,293 students, a 39.6 percent drop from 2013's number of 301,820.

Masters degree enrollment is forecast to drop to 46,000, or 14.55 percent down from 53,834 in 2013, and doctoral degree enrollment is set to decline to 4,800, down 37.4 percent from 7,670.

Masters students are expected to take up a higher relative proportion of higher education students in 10 years, while the proportion of bachelor's and doctoral students both drop.

Bachelor's degree seekers are set to make up 78 percent of all tertiary students compared to 83.07 percent last year, while master's students could be 20 percent instead of last year's 14.82 percent, and doctoral degree pursuers will likely fall slightly to 2 percent from 2.11 percent.

Huang said the education ministry will seek to bolster the quality of higher education curriculums by improving the teacher-to-student ratio from the current 32:1 for undergraduate programs and 12:1 for graduate programs to 27:1 and 10:1, respectively.

At the conference, National Taiwan University President Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) proposed that different guidelines should be set for different academic disciplines depending on the needs of society.

For example, he said the enrollment targets for medical, accounting and other certifiable professions should not be reduced.

The president of the nation's top university suggested the government allow schools to carry out enrollment reductions at their own discretion and advised graduate degree holders to stay in academia in addition to seeking careers in private industries.

Chinese Culture University President Lee Tien-jen (李天任) warned that enrollment reductions and department closures may have a profound impact on the nation's talent pool in the future.

He advised the government to approach the low birth rate issue from more angles than just analyzing statistics and costs.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Ted Chen)
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