Gov’t tuition hike reasoning panned

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Students and parents expressed their opposition to a possible college tuition increase at a public hearing held yesterday by the Ministry of Education (MOE). Many parents questioned the quality of education while students voiced suspicion over how the schools will put the tuition increase to use.

The MOE proposed a draft to adjust college tuition, taking into consideration the fact that the cost of education has been increasing gradually. The tuition for public universities and colleges could be increased by 10 percent at most, according to the draft, while the tuition for private schools could be raised by 5 percent.

Ru-jer Wang (王如哲), substitute president of the National Academy for Educational Research, said that the MOE will refer to students and parents’ opinions regarding tuition adjustment.

A student representative for National Taiwan University (NTU) said that there are too many college students in Taiwan now because of the extent to which the government set up private colleges, which led to a lack of insufficient educational resources.

“It is not fair for the students to be responsible for the imbalance caused by the government’s inappropriate policies,” said the NTU student representative.

National Tsing Hua University (清華大學) student Chang Tao-chi (張道琪) said that the government did not increase subsidies for middle- or low-ranking colleges, while top-ranking colleges may get subsidies which are much higher than for other institutes of higher learning.

“Even though the MOE came up with the plan to sponsor top-ranking colleges with NT$50 billion in five years, students do not see a lot of difference in reality,” Chang said.

A student attending the public hearing also said that most college students do not understand where the schools will put the increased tuition, which is why students are so reluctant to accept tuition increases.

Deputy NTU Students’ Union Chairman Chiu Cheng-jeng (邱承正) said that the MOE should clarify the future direction for Taiwan’s advanced education and then talk about the details instead of only discussing adjustments to tuition.

Lee Jung-lung (李榮隆), chairman of Yilan County’s Parent Association, said that the MOE should increase the quality of advanced education before raising college tuition.

A National Alliance of Parents Organization (NAPO, 全國家長團體聯盟) representative said that the MOE is facing many issues now, including a nearly 100-percent college enrollment rate and an imbalanced educational budget for colleges with different rankings.

The NAPO representative also said that the MOE can discuss the adjustment of tuition after the quality of education is improved and the economy begins to grow again.