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With the coming of 2016, Taiwan will face severe problems in high-level education and the situation will only worsen in the future. Universities will be affected by the extremely low birthrate of less than 280 thousand newborns in 1998, which will lead to a 27-thousand-people slump in the total amount of freshmen compared with the previous year. As a result, university teachers will experience unemployment and schools will be integrated or dissolved. Even high-level education is likely to face the problem of labor shortage.

UDN reports, the declining birthrate has already influenced universities in Taiwan. The number of college students will plunge from 260 thousand to 170 thousand eight years later, while 14 thousand teachers will be unemployed. In this regard, the Ministry of Education has begun planning education reformation throughout the 160 colleges and universities in Taiwan.

Storm Media reports, the Ministry of Education used four indicators to establish the reformation criteria, including:

1. Schools with less than 3,000 students and a registration rate of less than 60%.
2. Schools with arrears of salary up to three months or more.
3. Schools that did not pass the assessment or two-thirds of the departments failed the assessment.
4. Schools that violate education codes, such as selling out school property or seats on the board.

If the school meets one of the indicators and is unable to improve within a certain time frame, it will be dissolved, integrated, reformed or cut in other ways.

Minister of Education Wu Se-hua has repeatedly said that according to experiences overseas, only about 60% of high school students are suitable for universities and the reasonable number of universities in Taiwan is around 100 or so. The ministry has listed ten schools for observation to embark on the innovation and transformation project.

Wu also points out that universities should change their goals. In the past, we aimed to be the first; in the future, we want to create uniqueness. Each school should find its own characteristics to achieve first place in what it is good at.

In this regard, Liu Qing-xu, secretary-general of The National Federation of Teachers Unions (NFTU), says funds invested by both the government and industries are far less than other countries. To improve the quality of universities, Taiwan needs to redefine the meaning of high-level education rather than just calculate the trivial costs of running a school or simply reduce number of schools.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang