Vice Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (
Liu said although corporate cooperation is very important for universities, any cooperation relationship must be established with care, adding it is important for universities to draw a clear line between academia and business.
"Universities have their basic missions and ideals, and serving the business world is not the only purpose of higher education," Liu said while addressing a conference of university presidents.
Liu said Taiwan should learn the lesson of the United States, where "indiscriminate" corporate cooperation has made many higher-education institutions highly commercial -- not to mention pricey.
Faced with the tightening of education funding in Taiwan, the ministry recently proposed corporate funding as a way for public universities to expand their financial resources. In one of the plans for corporate cooperation, the ministry has proposed using the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format in the construction of new facilities in public universities in the future.
Liu said that although it is commendable to introduce the spirit of business management in the management of universities to upgrade their efficiency, the BOT concept has been abused in Taiwan.
Liu pointed out that no successful cases of BOT has been seen in Taiwan so far since it was first adopted for the construction of the Taipei-Kaohsiung high-speed railway.
"It is very dangerous to employ BOT as a way to increase financial resources in education institutions without proper planning," Liu said.
In response, Education Minister Kirby Yung (
"Even if corporate funding is introduced, presidents of universities are still members of academic community, rather than business people," Yung said.
Under the ministry's proposal, corporations could invest in facilities such as dormitories, restaurants and recreational facilities for students, while the universities could receive some funding from renting their land for the facilities.
In what is a somewhat different example, the National Taiwan Ocean University in Keelung is planning a new school in Ilan County in cooperation with the Evergreen Marine Corp.
Under the plan, the new school would be totally private.
According to Yung, however, there are still some legal problems to resolve before this plan can be realized.
C.L. Liu (
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