In a report on talent development conducted by the Ministry of Education’s Talent Development Association, which is composed of Academia Sinica academician Liu Chao-han and other fellow researchers, it warns that after 2028 the number of students starting university will decrease by half to only around 167,000 students. Taiwan’s overall strength as a nation will diminish significantly in the future if university students’ productivity fails to go up 1.5 times higher. Coupled with an aging population — 20 percent of the population will be over the age of 65 by 2026 — in order for Taiwan to continue growing and developing as a nation, the productivity of Taiwanese university graduates must be at least twice as high as now in 15 years.
According to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, more than 320,000 children were born each year in 1994 and 1995. Children born during these two years are the source of university students enrolling in college this year. However, the source of students starting university in 2028 are children born in 2009 and 2010, but only 190,000 and 160,000 were born during these two years respectively, which is little more than half the number of children being born 15 years ago. The social problems arising from a low fertility rate will become even more serious after 2028.
The report also says that the number of universities in Taiwan has seen a sharp increase, going from 51 in 1993 to 148 this year, and university admission departments are currently trying to enroll a total of 274,000 new students, which exceeds the number of students actually graduating from high school — 270,000. This means that every student has the opportunity to go to college, but it also means that colleges cannot enroll enough students to meet capacity. This will turn higher education into a form of universal education. When looking at the number of students enrolled in universities last year — 1.25 million — the amount of talent being developed is three times higher than it was 15 years ago, but still fails to meet societal and business demands.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)