While students from National Taiwan University (NTU), the country’s top-ranked academic institution, enjoy a larger share of government education subsidies than those in other universities, they do not appear to be corporations’ first choice for employment upon graduating, a recent report released by the legislature’s Budget Center said.
Citing NTU’s 2011 annual report, the budget center said that the average amount of funding received by a student at the university was about NT$417,000 (US$14,300), more than the NT$368,000 funding given to a National Tsing Hua University student.
Meanwhile, students from National Chiao Tung University and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) — both high-ranking universities — receive an average of about NT$312,000 per person in subsidies, the center said.
The center said that the disparity between the financial resources given to NTU and private universities was even more marked, with the funding received by the average Tamkang University (TKU) or Tunghai University student standing at about NT$128,000 and NT$126,000 respectively.
According to its budget statement for this fiscal year, NTU’s academic fund projected NT$15.986 billion in annual income and NT$16.208 billion in total expenses, the center said.
While NTU may post a fiscal deficit of about NT$221 million, the financial resources available to it are nearly twice as large as those given to NCKU, the center said.
The center said that following the launch of the Ministry of Education’s two-stage Top University Project in 2006, NTU had been granted an annual subsidy of approximately NT$3 billion to improve its teaching facilities and boost its research efforts.
The first stage of the project, also known as the “Five Year, NT$50 billion Project” (五年五百億), took place between January 2006 and March 2011, with NT$10 billion being allocated during each fiscal year.
The second stage of the scheme began in April 2011 and will run through March 2015.
However, a graduate evaluation survey jointly conducted by the Chinese-language monthly Global Views and 104 Job Bank last year suggested that the substantial financial resources given to NTU did not necessarily translate into higher competitiveness of its graduates in the workplace, the center said.
The survey, which identified the top 10 universities in the country in terms of their graduates’ “comprehensive competitiveness” as perceived by corporations, showed that NTU placed third, after NCKU and TKU.
“NTU authorities should urge their graduates to bring their expertise into full play and make valuable contributions to society with what they have learned in school,” the center said.
In response, NTU secretary-general Chang Pei-jen (張培仁) said the school gives questionnaires to corporations once every three years to gauge their satisfaction with its graduates’ job performances.
According to the results, NTU graduates should work on their teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills, stress tolerance and attitude, Chang said.
“In light of these findings, the school has stipulated 10 basic qualities required of NTU graduates, including a willingness to fulfil civic responsibilities, an ability to communicate with others and a positive attitude to working with peers,” Chang said.
NTU Student Association president Lin Wei-han (林韋翰) said such accusations against NTU graduates were unfair.
“It is not just those who work in corporations that contribute to society. An individual can do this in myriad ways,” Lin said.
“Whether it is in non-governmental organizations, government agencies or academic institutions, we can see hard working NTU graduates, which is why I think such accusations are unfair,” Lin said.