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Education minister defends fifth year of study for college grads

Education minister defends fifth year of study for college grads

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) Minister of Education Wu Ching-chi defended a plan Thursday to provide fifth-year courses for university graduates, saying it would boost their employability and help meet the demands of the business and industrial sectors.
Speaking during a meeting at the Legislative Yuan's Education and Culture Committee, Wu discounted criticisms that the program was designed to artificially lower the unemployment rate. He said the program is a long-term and far-sighted policy devised to meet actual needs from the private sector.
"While the industrial sector needs an average of 100,000 people as new blood each year, we are only able to provide some 30,000 qualified graduates," he said.
"The other graduates would not be able to be hired immediately after graduation because they don't have cross-discipline employability or their foreign language ability is not reinforced, " he added.
The MOE floated a "four plus one" initiative earlier this week that will allow universities to open one-year intensive courses for bachelor's degree holders to gain technical knowledge that will enhance their chances of finding a job after graduation, especially in Taiwan's many high-tech companies.
According to the plan, both new and old university graduates can apply for the program, which will focus on training them in the technology field, including semiconductor-related knowledge and technologies.
The study program will span three semesters over the course of a year and people who complete the one-year course will be conferred with a bachelor's degree in technology.
Wu said the Executive Yuan will make a decision on whether to adopt the plan in June.
During the meeting, ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chen Shu-hui questioned whether the 4+1 program is just a ploy used to help the government keep its promise of lowering the unemployment rate, without actually having more people employed. The jobless rate topped 5.3 percent in April and might rise further in the coming months with university students graduating.
KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying also asked Wu whether the program is aimed at keeping the students on campus for one more year.
To meet high-tech companies' manpower demands and help humanities graduates acquire professional knowledge and skills, Deputy Education Minister Lin Tsung-ming said, the MOE plans to launch the 4+1 program in September to cater to these needs.
According to Lin, an estimated 150,000 new university graduates become first-time job seekers each year.
(By Ho Meng-kuei and Deborah Kuo)




Updated : 2021-05-17 12:32 GMT+08:00