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Students from China outnumber locals in NCCU PhD program
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-09-01 07:52 PM
One result of rising costs in education and increased difficulty finding jobs is that the number of Taiwanese students in doctoral programs is sagging. At the same time, however, the number of students coming to Taiwan from China for post-graduate degrees is rising year after year. At National Chengchih University’s (NCCU) College of Communication, the college’s PhD program now has more students from China than from Taiwan – six students from China vs. only two from Taiwan.

In years past the college had anywhere from 30 to 40 local students enrolled in its PhD program. This year, however, only three students from Taiwan applied and two were accepted. All five of the applicants from China were accepted and one holdover from last year is repeating, making a total of six mainland Chinese students in the program

Statistics compiled by the Joint Admission Council indicate a total of 849 students from China are now pursuing Master’s and PhD degrees at universities in Taiwan. The number of master’s candidates rose by 148 this year while the number of doctoral candidates rose by 70. Most of these students are studying business, computer engineering, law, mass communications and Chinese, with the number of students in mass communications zooming from last year’s 11 to 28 this year.

NCCU Dean Lin Yuan-ui notes that Taiwan’s low birth rate in recent years, the challenges encountered in higher education, and increasing difficulty for PhDs in finding a teaching position at a university all mean that less people will make the commitment to work for a PhD degree. In China, on the other hand, the population continues to grow and educational resources are limited, making Taiwan a very attractive option for Chinese students.

Hsu Mei-ling, an NCCU professor who serves as advisor to many Chinese students, explains that in the past Taiwan's higher education institutions have focused on developing Taiwanese academic and research talent. More recently, however, the number of students from China and other areas has increased dramatically, and it is time to re-think some of the directions in education in Taiwan. This means developing courses that are more globally-oriented with international perspectives.

Sun Wei-ni, a third-year doctoral candidate at NCCU, notes that Taiwan offers a top-notch, fully-developed educational system that is drawing many students from China to study here. She believes that increasing the number of students from China is a good thing from the perspective of cross-strait exchanges. She notes that students from both sides can profit by gaining a deeper understanding of each other’s social outlook and experiences.

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