Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 8 News List

The LIBERTY TIMES EDITORIAL: Tragedy of the young generation

Second, Taiwanese companies have been moving overseas for the past 20 years or more, in particular to China. This has gutted domestic industry and it is causing job opportunities to dwindle. Overseas production now stands at more than 50 percent of Taiwan’s industrial production, and that ratio will continue to increase. The GDP figure is turning into dry numbers on paper that have little or nothing to do with people’s daily lives, and it does nothing to help solve the domestic unemployment problem. As globalization and Internet technology continue to develop, competition will become increasingly international, and young Taiwanese will have to compete with young people all over the world, which means that the challenge from the outside world is increasing on a daily basis.

The negative impact of the overall situation on the young generation must be addressed and solved by ambitious reform jointly initiated by the government and the opposition. The main issue is pension system reform aimed at making pensions more reasonable and lowering national debt in order to avoid a national default.

Another issue is to change the government’s pro-Chinese economic and trade policies and improve the domestic investment environment so that the manufacturing industry can return and develop here. This is the only way to bring about a fundamental restoration of the structurally distorted Taiwanese industry.

In addition to all this, the education system should be reformed to raise the skill level and competitiveness of Taiwan’s young. In particular, an end should be put to the current policy of turning technical and vocational high schools into universities.

The deteriorating quality of Taiwan’s educational system began with the educational reform in 1995. As many technical and vocational high schools have been promoted to university level, the number of universities in Taiwan has increased from 23 universities 20 years ago to 122 today, and the number of university students has increased from 245,000 to 1,245,000 — a four-fold increase. Not only has this resulted in a deluge of university degrees, it has also weakened technical and vocational training, so that there is now a great gap between the skilled personnel required by industry and what is actually available on the market. The upshot is that young people have difficulties finding jobs because they do not possess the expertise and technical skills required, while companies cannot find the workers they need.

However, it cannot be denied that some young people take a dim view of the overall situation and lack the willingness and ambition to work hard, and some even enjoy their unemployment and are simply unwilling to work. They would rather rely on and live off their parents.

This is why, in addition to improving the overall environment, the young themselves also need to revive their willingness to work hard and maintain an optimistic and enterprising attitude and a desire to learn and develop their skills and knowledge. If they fail to do so, it will not be possible to turn around the tragedy facing the young generation.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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