For example, Google has employed Vinton Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, to be their “chief Internet evangelist.” Also, many companies now need data scientists to analyze vast amounts of online information, social networking experts to manage their company’s social media as well as “chief inspiration officers” to give them innovative inspiration. None of these are positions are likely to be created by a manufacturing industry whose sole emphasis is lowering costs.
Of the four solutions proposed by the council, only the proposal to improve industrial-academic cooperation aims in the right direction. However, this is something that the National Science Council and the ministry have already been working on for years. Which begs the question why they have not achieved anything of note. This failure is due to the way they operate and also because the way they thought about things before was wrong. In the past, teachers had to find businesses to engage in industrial-academic cooperation on their own and very few actual businesses were willing to cooperate. As a result, teachers could only contact companies they were familiar with, essentially just “going through the motions” rather than exploring the exercise to its full potential.
To implement real industrial-academic cooperation, the government has to make it compulsory for all companies to engage in industrial-academic cooperation. The government should require all companies, according to scale, have several industrial-academic cooperation projects ongoing at any given time, or alternatively, to have several independent professors or experts on site.
These professors and experts would then be responsible for engaging in industrial-academic cooperation and exploring suitable areas for research, development and innovation. This is really the only way Taiwanese industries can improve.
Solving the problem of upgrading Taiwan’s industries will naturally solve the problem of too few positions being available for skilled workers. If Taiwanese do not think seriously about this issue and merely try to change things from the educational side alone, then the number of skilled workers without suitable jobs will only increase and more of them will move abroad in search of work.
Chang Ruay-shiung is president of the Taiwan Hospitality & Tourism College.
Translated by Drew Cameron