Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Colleges’ enrollment not only criterion for school closure: MOE

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en, at right microphone, yesterday speaks at a public hearing she organized at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei about the potential closure of low-performing private universities and colleges.

Photo: CNA

The Ministry of Education (MOE) would take into account private universities’ enrollment as well as their finances, quality of teaching, faculty and other factors when deciding whether to close schools down, Deputy Minister of Education Yao Leeh-ter (姚立德) said yesterday, adding that substandard public universities might also face closure.

According to a draft bill on the closure of private universities and colleges approved by the Executive Yuan on Dec. 23 last year, private schools are to be forced to close down if they fail to meet basic requirements such as having at least 3,000 students, reaching 60 percent of a government-set enrollment goal, meeting the government’s education quality standards and paying their faculty.

In most cases, schools would be given time to improve and would only be closed if they fail to meet the requirements before a given deadline.

At a public hearing on the bill in Taipei yesterday, private school representatives criticized the ministry for targeting private schools and listing student numbers as one of the criteria for closure.

“Public universities receive far more government resources than private universities, so the government should be imposing stricter standards on those schools as well, rather than solely focusing on private ones,” Lungwha University of Science and Technology president Ko Tzu-hsiang (葛自祥) said.

“There are many great schools around the world with fewer than 3,000 students” he said, adding that small private universities that are financially sound and offer high quality programs should not be forced to close down.

Quality of education should be the most important criterion, Taiwan Higher Education Union president Liu Mei-chun (劉梅君) said, adding that the ministry should close down all low-quality universities and colleges, whether public or private, as soon as possible, so that good schools could divide more resources.

Many private universities are wasting government resources and should be closed down, Taipei University of Marine Technology instructor Chiao Nian-ping (喬念平) said, adding that his school received a NT$900 million (US$30.4 million) loan from the ministry to construct a building and a pool, even though it did not need them.

“Now, more than 100 classrooms are not being used, but the school is still spending money furnishing them,” he added.

Yao said the ministry’s criteria for closure include enrollment rates, total number of students, finances, teaching quality and whether they have been paying their faculty’s salaries.

“We definitely will not just look at enrollment rates and student numbers when deciding which schools should be closed down,” he said. “Low-quality public universities will of course be closed down too.”

The ministry has been planning to close down low-quality public universities, but the time for such measures not yet come, Yao said.

A report published by the ministry late last month said 198 university and college departments failed to recruit any students for the 2017 to 2018 academic year, while 17 colleges and universities, excluding colleges of religious studies, admitted less than 60 percent of their student quota.

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