The government should guarantee that a university or college would not close down midway through its students’ studies, the Taiwan Higher Education Union said yesterday.
A total of 951,35 people signed up for the joint entrance exams for four-year technical colleges and two-year junior colleges this year, the union said, citing statistics from the Testing Center for Technological and Vocational Education.
That was 15,555 people, or about 14 percent, fewer than the number of people who signed up for the tests last year, it said.
The number of people who signed up for the Advanced Subjects Test (AST) also fell, it said.
Last year, 49,119 people signed up for the AST, compared with 43,753 this year, it said, citing College Entrance Examination Center figures.
Given the decline, schools could face greater challenges in recruiting students this year, and many schools and departments might see a decline in enrollment rates, union organization department director Lin Po-yi (林柏儀) said.
As a result, many students and their parents are worried that the department they selected might close down in the course of their studies, he said.
Such inquiries that the union has received from students are upsetting, because students’ selection of preferred departments should be based on their aptitude or interest, Lin said.
No student should have to worry about whether the school they attend might close down halfway through their studies, he said.
Students should not be the ones to bear responsibility for the effects of the nation’s falling birthrate, Lin said.
The government should ensure that if it allows a university to recruit students, then those students must be allowed to complete their studies and graduate from that school, he said.
The birthrate might continue to fall and universities might face an increasingly difficult situation in terms of recruitment, Lin said, adding that if the government does not make its position clear now, more problems would emerge.
The union called on the government to guarantee that if a school wants to discontinue operations, it must first stop recruiting new students.
Only when its current students graduate should the school be allowed to close down, it said, adding that the same quality of education should be maintained in the meantime.
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