The past 20 years have seen a gradual shift in emphasis to populism from elitism in Taiwan’s higher education. What results is a big jump in the quality of its labor force. Those who have received higher education now account for over 60 percent of the population, putting Taiwan at 13th spot in tertiary enrollment in the 2011 Global Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). With high-caliber talent readily available, Taiwan’s job market hardly needs to worry about a scarcity of engineers or technicians. Local industries can thus focus on innovation that is key to their staying competitive internationally.
Therefore, the mission of each HEIs is to nurture highly skilled middle and top level talent, through formulating policies and regulations. And Department of Higher Education (DHE)* takes the responsibility for assisting and guiding HEIs’ development and quality for carrying out their respective missions and mandates.
The goals of DHE tasks could be summarized as:
Establish for higher education to further enhance a system that is accessible and affordable. All Taiwan residents who desire benefit from higher education should have a place in HEIs and should be able to afford it. The implement measures include dual-channel for admission (recommendation & examination), Star plan for students from remote towns, transparent tuition adjustment mechanism, multi-financial aids program, etc.
Maintain and strengthen a system of HEIs for academic excellence and effectiveness in fulfilling the educational needs of students and the economic and societal development needs of the nation. The implement measures include competitive funding strategies (e.g. Top University Project), evaluation system and public fund for national university, guiding subsidy for privative university, and accreditation regulations for faculty qualifications, etc.
Address “student-centered learning” practices, which focus on the learner and on learning. Within this context, faculty and institutions must direct attention and resources to student learning processes and how instruction and other services for the delivery of expanding fields of knowledge in rapidly changing professions, including the profession of teaching itself. The implement measures include Program for promoting teaching excellence of universities, various specific talents nurture programs (e.g. Industrial collaboration graduate program, Art talent cultivate program), etc.
Promote economic growth and vitality through HEIs’ contributions toward the advancement of research innovation, invention, and the commercialization of intellectual properties, also toward the development of a highly qualified workforce in order to effectively narrow the gap between the supply and demand in terms of employability. The implement measures include programs for promoting universities working more collaboratively with enterprises regarding research utilities (e.g. Incentive program of the performance of academia-industry collaboration), program to assist university-based business start-ups, and programs co-operating with MOEA and other governmental agencies for preparing qualified workforce (e.g. Programs in Human resource development for colleges of arts and design, Industrial technology master program) etc.
Inspire universities students with global citizenship in a truly internationalized campus setting to advance students’ English proficiency and expose them to cross-culture experiences, then to broaden and deepen our youth’s global prospective and competitiveness. The implement measures include joint/dual degree program, English –taught courses, subsidizing enrollment of international students, etc.
*HEIs in Taiwan feature a dual-track system of universities alongside polytechnics. The polytechnics system, which includes junior technological colleges and technological universities & colleges; and the universities system, which includes universities & colleges, are respectively under the administrations of Department of Technological and Vocational Education, respectively （DTVE）and Department of Higher Education (DHE) .