The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) has vowed to push for free vocational school education, as it has predicted that Taiwan will face a serious basic workforce shortage in the years ahead.
Taiwan will have an average annual shortage of 310,000 to 330,000 low-level workers by 2015, the country’s top economic planning body forecast in a recent press statement.
The country will also see an annual shortage of 40,000 to 50,000 high-level professional and management workers by 2015, the CEPD said.
To ensure a sufficient supply of manpower to drive Taiwan’s economic development and industrial competitiveness, the CEPD plans to offer free access to vocational education at the senior high school level.
The council will earmark NT$10 billion (US$328 million) annually to subsidize tuition and upgrade the faculty, equipment and courses at vocational high schools and colleges.
In recent years, the vocational education system has failed to produce sufficient talent, as more students are focusing on pursuing college degrees rather than developing specific work skills, the CEPD said.
However, in the global labor market, people without specific work skills will face stiff challenges from the large amount of low-technology, low-wage labor available in developing countries, the CEPD said.
In addition, the council noted that falling birth rates in Taiwan, which translate into low school enrollment rates, will pose another threat to local vocational education.