Friday, August 08, 2014

Two down more to go

Following Kao Fong College of Digital Contents, Yung Ta Institute of Technology and Commerce decided to sound the taps, becoming the second higher vocational education institution that had been forced to close down because of poor enrollment due to two-decade long low birthrate.

Both located in the southernmost Pingtung county, Kao Fong and Yung Ta were in such predicament not because their teachers did not teach well or the school authorities did not know how to run their schools. They were simply the victims of sloppy education policies.

Some twenty years ago there was demographic statistics showing that the birthrate of Taiwan had begun to drop, a phenomenon few ever took it seriously. A decade ago, disregarding the fact that Taiwan’s education market capacity had already been saturated, the Ministry of Education, yielding to the pressure of interest groups, financial syndicates and lawmakers, still kept on approving the establishment of new schools or loosely upgrading 2-year junior colleges to become 4-year ones*, knowing for sure that these new schools might soon face the crisis of not getting enough students.

Although the MOE has taken some measures to cope with the domino effect of private colleges, it seems ineffective to halt their doomed collapse. Some indicated that the only good way at the moment was rely on the supreme guideline of any kind of market---only the fittest survive. However, we do not know, while during the selecting process, who is going to be responsible for the rights of students to receive quality education and who is going to protect the rights of employment of teachers and administrators? 

*Yung Ta, founded some 45 years ago, was originally a two-year junior college which was upgrade to become a four-year college in 1999. It's been widely discussed in recent years whether it is proper to upgrade all these junior colleges into four-year ones. Also, many believe that Yung Ta was closed down because of its location. It's always a challenge for schools located in remote areas to recruit enough students. 

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