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Thu, Jan 06, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Three new universities to debut

HIGHER EDUCATION A trio of facilities are to open next month in the final phase of the government's plan to raise both the quality and accessibility of tertiary education

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education yesterday announced that National Taipei University and National Kaohsiung University -- which have been in the preparatory stage for several years -- will be officially established on Feb. 1, and will begin recruiting students this year.

National Chiayi University, meanwhile, a merger of the National Chiayi Institute of Technology and National Chiayi Teachers' College, will also be established on the same day, effectively creating three national-level educational institutions at the same time.

"This is going to have a deep impact on the development of higher education in Taiwan," Vice-Minister for Education Lin Chao-hsien (林昭賢) said.

The government began planning National Taipei University in 1989, but its construction was delayed until March last year after encountering problems acquiring land.

The university's headquarters are located in Sanhsia, Taipei County, on a 54.54-hectare site. When established, the Taipei campus of the Taichung-based National Chunghsing University -- consisting of the law and business schools, and the 8,000 students studying there -- will be merged with National Taipei University.

Lee Chien-hsing (李建?), director of the university's preparatory office, said the university will operate three other faculties at the Sanhsia headquarters, namely the schools of public affairs, social sciences and humanities.

Two new master's programs will be launched soon after its establishment in February, and an additional six new undergraduate programs, 13 master's programs and six doctoral programs are scheduled for launch this fall, Lee said.

"By that time, the university is expected to have over 9,000 students in total," Lee said.

National Kaohsiung University will launch six undergraduate programs with a total of 290 student enrolled in the fall.

Wang Jen-hung (?y?祐?/CHINESE>), director of National Kaohsiung University's preparatory office, said his university aims to increase the number of programs to 33 over a 10-year period, servicing a total of 15,000 students.

The university, planned since 1997, is located in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

Lin said the education ministry strategically planned the university's construction -- its purpose being to balance the development of higher education in the northern and southern regions and to upgrade Kaohsiung's cultural standards.

"Kaohsiung plays a crucial role in Taiwan's economic miracle, but its cultural standard has lagged behind that of Taipei," Lin said.

National Taipei University and National Kaohsiung University are the last two public universities that the government plans to construct.

Considering limitations imposed by government funding, the education ministry is now trying to channel corporate funding into public universities and is encouraging the private sector to invest in the building of institutes of higher education.

The ministry is seeking to integrate existing educational resources to boost their efficiency while working to redistribute effectively limited financial resources.

It is against this background that the merger of National Chiayi Institute of Technology and National Chiayi Teachers' College took place. "The merger of public colleges will be an inevitable trend in the future, and the establishment of National Chiayi University has a symbolic meaning," Lin said.

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