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Is there a future for Taiwan's advanced education system?

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- According to the Asia University Rankings 2014, published recently by Times Higher Education, when it comes to the nation with the most institutions in the running, Taiwan fell from second to fourth place. National Taiwan University (NTU) is still Taiwan's leading institution and took 14th place, remaining in the same position as last year.

The editor of Times Higher Education Pill Baty pointed out that “the NTU has experienced a very slight decline in its scores for teaching and research this year, but has overall remained stable.

“You have to run very fast just to stand in this highly competitive environment, so National Taiwan University's performance is a significant achievement, as universities across the region are improving,” said Baty.

However, Taiwan cannot be satisfied with the achievement that one school has made it into the international university rankings because there is no university in Taiwan that made into the top 10. Also, four Taiwanese universities lost their spot this year, which is something that we cannot overlook.

The rankings pointed out one significant issue that Taiwan's higher education is facing, which is that we are not improving while others are. Indeed, we are moving backwards. When most Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea and Singapore, are maintaining their leading status or are soaring up in international rankings of advanced education, Taiwan seems to stay in the same place where it was years ago. When other countries are moving forward, Taiwan, however, is left behind.

What Taiwan Can Do to Move Forward?

In order to make some changes to Taiwan's advance education system, it is important for the nation to face the problems locked inside educational policies. While, according to Ministry of the Interior, the number of newborns dropped by nearly half from 2000 to 2010, the number of universities and vocational schools doubled at the same time.

When the number of university places greatly exceeds the amount of students that can be enrolled, the value of advanced education starts to be challenged because everyone who takes the entrance exam can be accepted regardless of their grade or levels.

College degrees become a piece of paper when everyone can own one. However, Taiwan's industries do not have such great demand compared to the number of college students supplied by schools each year, which causes two issues: First is that it becomes more difficult to lower the unemployment rate because there are not enough vacancies in the job market to place all these college graduates.

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