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Private colleges face closures amid low birth rates in Taiwan

Country already seeing mergers of public universities

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Vocational school students in Taiwan 

Vocational school students in Taiwan  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s educational authorities expressed support on Monday (Oct. 19) for the country’s public and private universities to merge amid population decline woes.

Around half of Taiwan’s 66 private technological and vocational colleges are feared will be shuttered by 2028 with the expected 40 percent drop in the number of pupils from high schools, warned Shyu So-de (徐守德), president of the Association of Private Universities and Colleges of Technology.

At a legislative interpellation session, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) noted that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is working on institutional solutions to overcome hurdles on potential merger plans between public and private universities. Preliminary results of a study will be published in November, drawing lessons from foreign countries like Japan, wrote Liberty Times.

Statistics from the Ministry of the Interior in July suggested that Taiwan, which recorded more deaths than births in the first six months this year, could see negative population growth for the first time in 2020. The National Development Council also sounded alarms in August that the country is aging quickly, with its population estimated to drop to 15.81 million by 2070, below the 16.22 million in 1975.

Taiwan is already experiencing a trend of marriages between public universities. In June, the government greenlit the high-profile merger between prestigious National Chiao Tung University (NCTU, 國立交通大學) in Hsinchu and research university National Yang-Ming University (NYMU, 國立陽明大學) in Taipei.