MOE to encourage graduate career tracking

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 - Page 3

Ministry of Education officials said the ministry has decided to ask universities and colleges to track the careers of their graduates as part of its efforts to improve communication between higher education institutions and the employment market.

Graduate career tracking is an empirical study program used to provide information on the professional progress of graduates, their opportunities on the labor market and collect their feedback on and evaluation of their degree courses.

Ministry officials said information on former students’ job search experience, their status on the employment market and the relevance of the skills they acquired while in education provides essential feedback for universities and colleges.

Using this information, education institutions can improve their training programs and services, the officials said, adding that the information could also serve as reference for senior-high school graduates in choosing universities and colleges.

The ministry previously commissioned National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) to conduct university and college graduates career tracking.

However, as the response rate of NTNU career surveys has been low, the findings have not been effective in helping improve communication between the higher education sector and the labor market.

The relatively high unemployment rate among those who have received tertiary education has often made the ministry a target of criticism.

The ministry has therefore decided to end its contract with NTNU and instead ask all local universities and colleges to conduct career tracking polls on their graduates by telephone.

Ministry officials said the ministry will follow the practice adopted in the UK, where universities and colleges are required to track the careers of their students half-a-year, one-and-a-half-years and three years after graduation.

The ministry will ask both public and private institutions of higher education to unveil those survey results in accordance with current laws governing universities and colleges.

The ministry will also analyze and verify survey findings by comparing them with data from labor, civil service or military insurance agencies.

According to the ministry’s plan, the graduate career tracking survey will contain 20 basic questions.

Each school can add questions based on demand, but the total number of questions should not exceed 30.

During the initial stage, graduate students will be able to respond online. Once all schools train interview personnel, the survey should be conducted by telephone interview to save time and obtain more standardized results.

Graduate career tracking surveys have been conducted in many advanced countries for years to facilitate education reform and improve graduate students’ job prospects, ministry officials said.