Taipei, Aug. 25 (CNA) University presidents on Saturday called on the Ministry of Education to give them greater flexibility to help them keep and recruit talent. National Chengchi University (NCCU) President Wu Se-hwa said the current tuition system is too rigid and fails to reflect teaching qualify or support talent recruitment.
"The salary structure for professors is also not favorable to recruiting talent of international stature," Wu said at an NCCU-organized forum, which gathered heads of national and private universities as well as education officials to report on talent recruitment.
If the ministry gives universities leeway to raise tuition fees, the universities will be more able to recruit top-notch talent and improve teaching quality, Wu said.
Lai Ting-ming, president of Shih Hsin University, echoed Wu's words, saying restrictions serve only to undermine the competitiveness of universities. He noted that unlike national universities, which receive government funds, private schools have difficulty keeping teachers, let alone recruiting talent from abroad. He expressed the hope for greater flexibility in fee structures, noting that Hong Kong schools impose high tuition fees and can therefore pay for quality teachers and, as a result, attract top-grade students.
Students who become successful in the future often donate funds to their alma maters, which forms a positive cycle, he added. Chen Shi-shuenn, president of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, highlighted the low salaries of Taiwan's professors compared with their counterparts in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and South Korea. Chen noted that the salaries of professors in those countries were between two and 3.6 times higher than the salaries of professors in Taiwan. He also called for enterprises to contribute to talent nurturing by working with schools. He Zhuo-fei, an official with the Ministry of Education, said the ministry allocates NT$2.6 billion each year for its flexible salary program launched in 2010.
However, in the first year, only NT$1.1 billion was distributed, which shows poor policy execution, He said. The ministry official also lamented that of the 7,435 individuals who obtained increased salaries through the program, only 64, or less than one percent, were new recruits, while 86 were international talent.
He said that compared with other countries, such as Singapore that offers residency and extra bonuses, Taiwan lacks a comprehensive package for talent. "This has become a hurdle to keeping or recruiting talent," He said. With funds from the Ministry of Education and the Executive Yuan's National Science and Technology Development Plan since 2010, universities in Taiwan can give salary increases to professors and research personnel in order to retain outstanding domestic talent or to recruit excellent teachers from abroad. (By Hsu Chi-wei and Lilian Wu)