Tue, Sep 11, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

The Ministry of Education seems clueless, partly because it never talks to foreign professors and, if criticized, probably also just withdraws in an angry huff instead of reflecting maturely on the criticism.

Of course, some foreign professors have good experiences here, but that does not invalidate my own personal abhorrent experiences.

Taiwan: If you want to attract foreign academics and build world-class universities, then what you are doing right now is completely counterproductive (“Higher-education quality seen as deteriorating: poll,” July 30, page 3). No wonder foreign professionals choose to come to Taiwan in low numbers (“Flow of talent unbalanced, report says,” July 31, page 3). From what I experienced, there is absolutely no support structure whatsoever for foreign professors, neither within my former university nor from the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Science and Technology, to help with finding grants, with Chinese-language bureaucracy, or with the many other little things that are much harder for a foreigner to negotiate in Taiwan’s academic landscape.

Not only do you need to pay both homegrown and foreign professors more money and give them better holiday and sabbatical options (“Fears of academic exodus unfounded: universities,” Sept. 7, page 4), but, more importantly, you need to build an efficient support structure for foreign professors so that they are supported when they need to apply for grants and have to deal with Taiwan’s bureaucracy. Also they need to be protected from unfair and even unlawful practices within Taiwan’s universities.

However, given that no government official listens to foreigners or reads the Taipei Times, even writing this editorial is probably a futile, pointless, and superfluous exercise. Which is a shame, for me, but mostly for Taiwan, a country of much potential, but also with too much baggage from its authoritarian past.

Personally, I am preparing to leave this country because I am simply fed up.

Name withheld

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