China News Service, February 28 (Xinhua) According to Taiwan's "United Daily News", counties and cities in Taiwan have set off a trend of university towns in the early years. County and city governments rushed to enclose land for universities to set up branch campuses in order to "prosper the local area and enhance the competitiveness of universities." , but now most of the branch campuses have been "stillborn".

Taiwan media said that the incompetence of the Taiwan authorities and local governments should be blamed for such a predicament.

The school building is left with grass and half-finished... The island's university town is a "broken dream"

  According to reports, in the 1990s, the Taiwan authorities’ education department used school land and floor area as one of the conditions for university upgrades and restructuring. The university wanted to expand its campus, and the local government also hoped to introduce the university to promote local development and rushed to give away the land. The two sides hit it off. Derived from the phenomenon of university enclosure from north to south.

But now, many land areas are still covered with smoke and overgrown grass. The locals lamented that “the dream of a university town is shattered.” This has brought the issue of land enclosure by universities to the forefront again.

The Zhubei branch of National Taiwan University occupies an area of ​​22 hectares. Over the years, only one school building has been built, and the rest of the campus is surrounded by an iron mesh, forming a strong contrast with the high-rise residential buildings behind it.

Picture from Taiwan's "United Daily News"

  In Zhubei City, Hsinchu County, where land is at a premium, nearly 30 hectares of land were enclosed to welcome National Taiwan University (NTU) and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST).

Among them, the planned land for National Taiwan University's Zhubei campus is 22 hectares, which can be called "the most elite area in Zhubei". The Hsinchu County government sold it to National Taiwan University for a symbolic price of NT$1.

Walking into the campus, I saw the school building "Bichen Hall" built in 2009. The large campus is still surrounded by iron mesh. Nearby residents complained, "Who doesn't feel heartbroken when there is long grass on such a good land?"

  The Taiwan University of Science and Technology's Zhubei Campus, a six-minute drive away, once made locals look forward to it. However, the 7-hectare land now has only one R&D hall and two half-finished buildings. The rest are enclosed with iron sheets. The surrounding area has changed from desolate to prosperous, and real estate prices have been rising.

  There has never been a trace of the branch campus. Qiu Jingchun, the former county magistrate of Hsinchu, angrily criticized National Taiwan University as "the largest fraud group in history" and threatened to take back the campus.

Yang Wenke, the current county magistrate of Hsinchu, did not mince words, saying that another former Hsinchu magistrate, Lin Guanghua, sold the land to National Taiwan University for only NT$1, "which was tantamount to a gift." This clearly shows the local government's ardent expectations for the establishment of a university branch, but in exchange for Only disappointment came.

  Faced with local pressure, National Taiwan University President Chen Wenwen promised to raise funds to build the Zhubei branch in 2028, before National Taiwan University's 100th anniversary, and build it into a research and development base for new technologies.

  In addition, the "Taiwan Knowledge Economy Flagship Park" where the Zhubei campus of Taiwan's Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University is located has been stalled due to major protests over land expropriation; Taiwan's Tsinghua University was originally going to set up a campus in Zhudong, but there is no specific content and it has not yet been announced. Among them; the Yilan branch of Taiwan's Tsinghua University announced an indefinite suspension of construction due to insufficient funds; the planned site for the Taipei University of Technology's Wanli branch has now been lost in the smoke and grass; the Tainan County government provided the Qigu campus for Tainan University to relocate to for free due to opposition from teachers and students. Call card...

The Hsinchu campus of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology has only built one building over the years, which is nicknamed the Mosquito House by local people.

Picture from Taiwan's "United Daily News"

Why did the branch campus plan fail?

Taiwan media: authorities and local governments are incompetent

  Taiwan’s university towns were once a major booster for local revitalization, but over the years, local residents’ dreams have been shattered. In addition to land expropriation and forced evictions, the side effects of a surge in real estate prices have also been left behind, worsening the situation for local residents. pain index.

Taiwan's "United Daily News" commented that this dilemma of shooting first and then drawing the target, and finally failing to draw the target, was attributed to the incompetence of the central and local governments.

  Commentary and analysis pointed out that in the early years, Taiwan’s university towns blossomed all over the country. There was a temporal and spatial background. Local governments wanted to reap “political dividends” by setting up university towns, drive local development by introducing universities, and extend their political life and even reach higher levels with “political achievements.” However, in the past 20 years, Later, most cases proved to be just a dream. Although the demographic trend of low birthrate was one of the main reasons, short-term political and academic cooperation was the source of evil that caused the "dream" of the university town.

  Looking back at the plans for these universities to enclose land and set up branch campuses, it began when the Taiwan authorities’ education department listed school land and floor area as one of the necessary conditions for restructuring and upgrading. Although the final success of branch campus planning still depends on the resources of each school. However, these university enclosures have been approved by the Taiwan Education Department, but have not yet been developed. The Taiwan Education Department has not actively supervised the processing and review, ignored the idle campus land, and even been overly optimistic about the financial planning of each school's branch campus. Take the blame.

The Taoyuan Aviation City development project is still under construction, and residents have complained about the high housing prices.

Picture from Taiwan's "United Daily News"

  As for the universities participating in the enclosure, the reason why the branch branch plan was "stillborn" was that, firstly, it was difficult to secure funds, and secondly, the contents of the school establishment plan had not been thought out at all. As a result, along the way, the tsunami of declining birthrate has hit, and the universities It is even more difficult to raise a self-funded budget, which naturally leads to a loss of trust in the local government.

  Another "accomplice" is the local government. Seeing that the university town project is becoming more and more hopeless, the county and city governments would rather wait and wait than make full use of the "killer trump card" they have, such as launching a comprehensive review of urban planning and forcing the university to A school establishment plan and progress must be put forward within a time limit, otherwise the land will be taken back for more effective use.

  Commentators said that the "disappeared university town" has taught Taiwan a serious lesson. It must recognize that without pragmatic financial plans and specific teaching development goals, it will only sing along with politicians and write empty promises, which will lead to rising housing prices and local problems. The bitter fruit of losing justice in development and settlement.

The next base of the new university town, "Taoyuan Aviation City," previously attracted seven universities to prepare branch campuses, hospitals, and bases. Now only two have made significant progress. The loss of the university town may be repeated again.