Impact of Higher Education on Economic Development

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Abstract

This paper explores the findings of recent qualitative research examining the relationship between higher education and the economic development of Taiwan. The researcher travelled throughout Taiwan and interviewed 18 different university presidents or vice presidents from 10 different universities in 8 different cities. Data were analyzed around categories of human capital theory, graduates and the economy, national government education policy, and linking higher education to economic development. Data from this study indicates that both policy and postsecondary structural reform is acting as a path for creating a higher education system that is aligned with the economic vision for Taiwan. Participants also agreed that more equitable national infrastructures were needed to support and strengthen a broader range of institutions and not just refining economic development efforts on the top tier institutions. They also perceived that Taiwan’s economic growth is tied to a strong higher educational system that is heavily influenced by a “degree culture” in the country.