Taiwanese courses unfilled as birth crisis bites

Education Ministry statistics reveal programmes that have attracted zero students

January 4, 2017
Empty colourful seats
Source: iStock

More than 150 higher education programmes at Taiwanese universities have failed to enrol any students, illustrating the impact of the country’s shrinking birth rate on demand for higher education, according to reports.

At National Taiwan University, seven graduate programmes registered no students, including sociology, art history and ecology and evolutionary biology, according to the China Post, citing a report by the Education Ministry’s statistics department.

Meanwhile, 17 universities enrolled less than 60 per cent of their capacity on undergraduate programmes, according to the newspaper. A few private technology universities failed to attract any bachelor’s students at all.

The Education Ministry is currently supervising 10 institutions across Taiwan that are battling falling recruitment or financial problems, it reported.

The ministry has the power to intervene when student numbers drop below 3,000 or when a university fails to recruit at least 60 per cent of its vacancies over two years. It is expected to set up a fund this year to help universities with low student numbers reform or shut down, according to the China Post.

Taiwan has announced plans to close up to one in three universities by 2023 as the young population slumps because of a birth rate that is barely more than one child per woman.


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