The education ministry is considering a major realignment of both public and private universities ahead of an expected drop in the number of students, according to ministry sources.

It would be the first time that national, public-run and private universities could face amalgamation. In past structural reviews, only schools in the same categories were merged.

While the population of 18-year-olds is expected to fall sharply amid a general decline in the national birthrate, the percentage of those who advance to university education has remained flat at around 50 percent.