Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Universities face first-ever shortage of applications

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A senior Ministry of Education official yesterday said Taiwanese universities should accept the fact that schools will find it increasingly difficult to recruit enough students to fill vacancies.

Asked for comment, Department of Higher Education head Ho Chou-fei (何卓飛), acknowledged the imbalance of “supply and demand” in this year’s university enrollment.

Undergraduate Admissions Commission statistics showed that there are 85,000 vacancies for students this year, while about 83,000 students had filed their school priority list as of Monday.

“Although the number of vacancies has remained the same over the past few years, the number of examinees is decreasing. Therefore, for the first time, the number of available vacancies this year outnumbered that of examinees who filed their school priority list,” commission director Kuo Kun-huang said.

The college entrance system requires students to present the commission a list of academic departments they would like to attend after taking the entrance examination. The commission will determine their admissions in accordance with their examination grades.

The gap between this year’s supply and demand means that some departments may be unable to recruit as many freshmen as they would like or, in the worst cases, fail altogether to recruit any new students.

Ho said the Private School Law (私立學校法) had been amended to allow private universities to reform or merge with other schools.

He said that “market mechanisms” would probably decide which schools or departments needed to be selected out.

He urged universities to ensure the quality of their teaching to attract students, adding that the ministry would also take measures to compel schools that recruit students with lower grades to establish strict requirements to ensure the “quality” of graduates.

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