Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) said yesterday that the government plans to allow Chinese students to pursue higher education in Taiwan with certain restrictions.
Cheng said the government’s plan to open universities to Chinese applicants was still in the works.
If implemented, the quota for Chinese students will not be high in the initial stages, he said.
Cheng made the remarks during a meeting with presidents of privately run institutions of education in Tainan County.
Most presidents of the county’s 35 privately run universities and colleges appealed at the meeting for permission to recruit Chinese students in large numbers to help mitigate sagging enrollment figures.
Cheng reiterated that under a tentative plan, the Ministry of Education intended to let public universities recruit graduate students from China and let private institutions admit Chinese undergraduates.
But “all details of the plan are still in the pipeline,” he said.
At the meeting, Hsuan Chuang University president Xia Cheng-hua (夏誠華) said that Taiwan’s declining birth rate meant the number of high school graduates taking the joint university entrance exam was expected to shrink by 40,000 by 2015 from approximately 87,000 this year.
Xia said the MOE should devise a floating student quota system to adjust each institution’s quota according to the number of freshmen set to enroll that year.
The government should not base the quota on an institution’s previous enrollment performance, Xia said.
Cheng declined to comment on Xia’s suggestion.
The ministry unveiled regulations last month for local universities struggling to fill classrooms to gradually close.
Under the rules, universities that fail to recruit 70 percent of their officially approved student quotas for three consecutive years will see their quotas cut by between 10 percent and 30 percent.
According to MOE statistics, enrollment at colleges and universities were short 60,000 students last year — the largest shortfall in five years. The average freshman registration rate also fell to a five-year low of 82.98 percent, the statistics showed.
Twenty-four of the nation’s 162 universities and technology institutes — all of them privately run — saw their freshmen registration rates fall short of the 70 percent target last year and one institution reported a registration rate of less than 12 percent.