9 August 2018
The Taiwanese higher education system has been flourishing for the last few years. In the 2017 Shanghai rankings there were seven Taiwanese universities in the top 500 and 12 in the top 500 of the 2018 Round University Rankings where the National Taiwan university reached 112th place.
From the late forties to the eighties the number of institutions and students grew steadily and from 1994 to 2013 there was a rapid expansion. By 2008 nearly every secondary school graduate was entering higher education.
A blog post by Chia-Ming Hsueh of the National Cheng Kung University in INSIDE HIGHER ED argues that the period of growth is coming to an end. The root of the problem is an extremely low birth rate which has drastically limited the number of potential students. It is estimated that at least 20 universities are likely to close in the next few years.
Another problem is that since 2016 relations between Taiwan and Mainland China have deteriorated leading to a decline in the number of Mainland students. Meanwhile, Chinese universities have been recruiting professors from Taiwan and offering scholarships to Taiwanese secondary school graduates.
There have also been complaints from employers that university standards have been declining and there is a growing need to face international competition.
Chia-Ming Hsueh suggests that the “government could properly intervene where universities demonstrate low quality or poor performance, transform or close institutions when student numbers are decreasing, and reduce wasted investment in higher education.”
INSIDE HIGHER ED