Low birth rate challenges higher education in Taiwan: ministry

Taipei--The higher education system in Taiwan could face challenges due to the shrinking birth rate, the Ministry of Education said Wednesday, predicting that student populations of universities and colleges will drop by 40 percent between 2013 and 2028.

By 2028, there will only be 723,000 such students, said Deputy Education Minister Yao Leeh-ter (???) while answering questions from lawmakers at the Legislative Yuan about the impact of the low birthrate on higher education.

The decreasing student population will affect those schools' finances and be a waste of higher education resources, such as idle facilities and faculties, Yao said.

To minimize the impact, the ministry has been encouraging more exchanges between schools to prepare for possible mergers, he said, adding that collaboration between industry and schools is also one of the ministry's goals.

It is also drafting regulations to better supervise and correct poorly performing schools, Yao said.

A budget of NT$5 billion (US$165 million) will be set up for transformation or closure of those schools, as well as measures to help students to continue their studies in other schools and find teachers other jobs, according to Yao.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel