Higher education and graduate employment : university traditions and economic planning imperatives : a case study of Taiwan (The Republic of China) with reference to Britain and the U.S.A.
The employment problems of graduates in Taiwan are explored in terms of conflicting ideas of higher education. The unemployment rate of graduates with higher qualifications has been increasing for a decade. An increasing number of graduates are engaged in jobs which, in the past, demanded only high school qualifications. There is little or no relationship between the requirements of the job and the knowledge and skills graduates acquired in higher education. Conflicting ideas of higher education are identified as an obstacle to solutions of graduates' employment problems. These ideas can be categorised by two dels. One is the traditional idea of higher education, especially that universities should teach the liberal arts and should aim to foster virtue. Useful and practical knowledge and skills have been thought unsuitable. Confucian ideas of education can be linked to this view. The second model is that higher education should respond to the needs of society and the economy and that the curriculum of higher education naturally should refer to the content of job. This conflict between economic and traditional functions of higher education is serious in Taiwan. The revival of Confucian education was a government reaction to the Cultural Revolution in Xainland China. On the other hand, economic and manpower planning has been a government policy with economic implications for higher education. This conflict means that employment problems of graduates must be considered in their wider cultural and social aspects. The conflicting ideas of higher education are investigated in the process of graduates moving from university to work. There are four aspects: npower planning and higher education policy; collaboration between university and industry; graduates' aspirations for jobs; and careers guidance and counselling in universities and colleges. The final part of the thesis reports the results of analysis of the views of academics and students in Taiwan. This investigation uses questions derived from the two models developed earlier.