Tue, Jul 03, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Ma attends Academia Sinica meet

ACADEMIC LESSONS:The president said he had been spurred by an Academia Sinica paper to make luring overseas talent to Taiwan a priority for his administration

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou, front row center, smiles with members of Academia Sinica during the opening ceremony marking the first day of Academia Sinica’s 30th biannual academician’s meeting in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Taiwan will continue to create an attractive working environment for international talent amid increasingly fierce global competition for skilled workers, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

At the opening ceremony marking the first day of Academia Sinica’s 30th biannual academician’s meeting, Ma said the battle for talent is an issue of national security and that in this “era of uncertainty,” integrating various research fields has taken on particular importance.

“Academia Sinica was never an ivory tower; it conducts fundamental research and gives very practical suggestions that are beneficial to the livelihoods of the people,” he said.

Ma pledged that the government will help create attractive conditions to lure global talent to Taiwan as he said the Declaration on Talent Recruitment issued by Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) last year had alerted the government to the academic brain drain crisis.

The declaration was written by Wong and several key leaders in Taiwan’s academic, business, arts and media sectors in August last year, calling for attention to the problem of imbalanced supply and demand of talents in academic professions.

Lin Yu-sheng (林毓生), an academician and professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the current university assessment mechanism in Taiwan is disorderly and going in the wrong direction, leading to universities expending an excessive amount of effort and resources in striving to meet the assessment’s requirements.

He suggested that the frequency of university department assessments should be decreased from once every five years to once every 10 years, reducing the amount of evaluations made and thus affording more space for an institution’s academic freedom.

Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧), responded by saying that assessments are still important for the development of schools and that their frequency could be discussed further. However, the ministry is leaning toward merging some of the external assessments to allow more institutional self-assessment, but maintaining the frequency to once in every five years.

Chiang said the ministry is currently working on reducing performance indicators to allow universities to establish better self-assessment mechanisms for themselves.

More than 200 academicians are attending the four-day meeting, during which new inductees will be elected to join the prestigious organization on the summit’s final day on Thursday.

Additional reporting by CNA

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