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Taiwan must cut number of universities to under 100

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:45 pm    Post subject: Taiwan must cut number of universities to under 100 Reply with quote

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) Education Minister Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said in newspaper interview Saturday that Taiwan must reduce its number of universities to fewer than 100 within six years or its higher education system will suffer serious consequences due to shrinking enrollment.

The challenge will begin next year with low enrollments in Taiwan's 158 universities, Wu said in the interview in the China Times.

If the situation continues to worsen, the number of universities would have to be reduced to fewer than 100 by 2021, or higher education in Taiwan will suffer a "huge catastrophe," he said.

If the number of universities remains at more than 100, they will not be able to recruit a sufficient number of students, Wu said.

He said that the ministry will encourage universities to merge and will help the surviving ones find niches.

The education ministry can provide subsidies and divide the country's universities into five niche categories, namely international, learning and innovation, professional, industrial innovation, research and development, and regional innovation, Wu said.

The international category would comprise six to eight universities, including National Taiwan University and National Cheng Kung University, he suggested. Universities designated as international would have to meet certain international standards, in terms of teaching, research, and degrees that are recognized in Europe and the United States, the minister said.

One of the problems in Taiwan's higher education system is a shortage of university teachers, Wu said, noting that while Taiwan produces 4,000 doctors per year, it cannot supply an adequate number of teachers for its top universities. This indicates that local universities are reluctant to hire their own doctoral graduates, he said.

The shrinking enrollment rate in Taiwan's universities has been attributed largely to the country's low birth rate.

Due to that problem, 20-30 percent of Taiwan universities will not see new enrollments in 2016.

Ministry of the Interior show a decrease in the number of births in Taiwan from 271,000 in 1998 to 216,000 in 2003, and 166,000 in 2010.
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