University Program enrollment on the decline

Looks like the decline is continuing. First the programs don’t get any enrollment, then next is the universities themselves.

“The statistics showed zero enrollments in 151 departments and programs at universities and technical and vocational colleges, including the country’s top tertiary institution, National Taiwan University (NTU).”

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The problem seems especially acute in PhD programs–many of which, in reputable departments/institutes at NTU, received zero applications for admission! It’s too early for this to be attributed to demographic changes alone (though this is indeed coming, and in a big way). I can only imagine that prospective students are freaked out by a perceived lack of future academic employment opportunities. There seems to be very little sense among them about working internationally–or perhaps the ones that are already on to this have already gone international for their graduate studies. More dramatic developments are sure to follow as Taiwan’s university system is set for a large-scale shakedown.

Guy

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Yep. If you take a doctorate in, say, sociology then it is because you want to get a job in academia. In which case taking a doctorate in any Taiwanese university (including NTU) is pointless. There are virtually zero associate professor positions available, and for quite a few years the ones that do come up are given to candidates who studied overseas. The lack of respect the unis have for their own academic standards is coming back to bite them.

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Recent grads would not be eligible for associate professor positions anyways. The entry level rank for new faculty with a PhD is assistant professor.

Guy

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Doing a doctorate in Taiwan doesn’t offer great value , it often takes 5 years , they work you like a slave in the sciences and it’s still not valued like overseas degrees.
Getting a PhD is generally still very helpful for career minded people.

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The limits of studying in Taiwan are compounded by the fact that for international students there is no clear path to future employment/residency rights in Taiwan (should this be desired). With future demographic bleakness ahead, one hopes that the different government agencies in charge of these matters get their act together soon.

Guy

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Oops, that’s the monkey.

I wonder if anyone knows about enrolments at their university?

On the one hand, because it is now difficult to go overseas there might be more students enrolling in Taiwan, on the other hand there is the same difficulty in getting overseas students here. Of course population decline doesn’t help, but at the same time covid might be encouraging some people to go back to school if their job has been affected. Seems there also might be students who hated studying online in the spring, and don’t want to risk going online again this fall, so they’ll just take a gap year.

Anyone have any other ideas, or perhaps some actual information?

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I know that for the last few years undergraduate numbers have remained steady, but post-grad have plummeted at my uni. There has been a massive increase in the proportion of overseas students.

I have a feeling that the coming semester has seen a significant hit as class sizes are much smaller with the freshmen.

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Wasn’t there a big drop this year or next year in the population in this age bracket ?

There’s no point because they would likely not be hired to teach as overseas grads will be preferred usually.
Plus doing a PhD in Taiwan can be pretty tough.

I think it was a Tiger year? It’s weird with unis because the ones at the bottom get hit first, and then it gradually works its way upwards. I work at a mid tier uni, so I expect to feel the pain in five years or so.

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It should be the case indeed that the shittier institutions in out of the way places fold first.

There are about 160 of them, which is ridiculous.

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They are in deep doo-doo . A lot of unemployed lecturers about to change careers. Plenty of new real estate on the market to become retirement communities or nursing homes.

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There have been scandals with private unis folding without properly paying their lecturers. It causes a lot of grief.

Guy

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Yeah, thinking about that pension pot issue has me breaking into a cold sweat every so often … I’m at a school that’s relatively high in the middle tier, but still, there is a lot of excess capacity these days.

Another private university may bite the dust. I hope this will not affect any forumosans.

UDN story (in Chinese) here:

Guy

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I also hope none of us are affected. In a way we are though, it means more job competition for us if we have precarious positions, at the same time it means there’s a bit less competition for the shrinking pool of students!

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Happily there have been some changes since 2017! There is finally a path for international students to stay here in Taiwan and work—and even for some years of study to count toward their APRC. Good news for everyone, in my view.

Guy

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