School enrollment will decline over the next 16 years

  • By Rachel Lin and Jonathan Chin/staff reporter, with a staff writer

Enrollment in Taiwanese schools will drop sharply over the next 16 years, according to a report from the Ministry of Education released yesterday.

The report, which uses historical data and predictive modeling to cover enrollment trends from 2010 to 2036, is used to guide education policy, resource distribution and program plans, he said.

Elementary school enrollment is projected to decline by 16,000 students a year, falling to less than a million by 2029 and 923,000 by 2036, he said.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times

The downward trend has been correlated with births since 2010, he said, adding that political interventions and belief in certain Chinese zodiac signs affected the birth rate in some years.

Many couples avoid giving birth during the Year of the Tiger, which fell in 2010 and is due to happen again next year, according to the report.

In 2010, 215,000 students enrolled in elementary schools, which fell to 175,000 the following year, he said.

The figure rose to 214,000 in 2018 due to a spike in births in 2012, which the report attributed to government policies and the Year of the Dragon, he said.

These policies have since maintained elementary school enrollment at more than 20,000 students, he added.

However, first-grade enrollment in elementary schools is expected to fall next year, while the rate of decline for the 26-year period is expected to be 29.6%, he said.

Over the next 16 years, college enrollment is expected to decline by 8,200 students, or 1.5% per year, he said.

The figure includes an annual loss of 2,100 freshmen and 3,400 graduate students, he said.

Enrollment in high school and vocational schools is expected to decline by 9,700, or 1.7% per year, including an annual loss of 3,000 freshmen and 3,600 graduate students, he said.

The overall student population in vocational and secondary education would drop to 500,000 students by 2036, he said.

Universities would have 11,000 fewer students each year from next year, and the student population would fall to 828,000 by 2036, the report adds.

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