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Taiwan offers US$5million in scholarships

A US$5million public-private scholarship scheme has been launched in Taiwan to tackle a worrying decline in the number of students studying abroad. The Overseas Technology Talent Recruitment Programme, run by the government’s National Science Council (NSC) and private research institute Academia Sinica, will enable 116 doctoral and postdoctoral students to attend the world’s top 30 universities from 2013 to 2016.

The number of Taiwanese studying abroad hit a 10-year low of 24,000 this month

It comes after the number of Taiwanese studying abroad hit a 10-year low of 24,000 this month, falling dramatically from 33,900 in 2010. This has coincided with a shortage of highly skilled personnel which threatens the economy.

Dr. Wong Chi-huey, president of Academia Sinica, expressed concerns about falling number of Taiwanese students abroad

Wong Chi-huey, head of Academia Sinica, said the fall in Taiwanese at top universities overseas was concerning. “We are willing to help provide more opportunities for brilliant students to enter top international research environments,” he said.

Taiwanese have always been a big study abroad group and a recent report from the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education found “no important factors” that discouraged them, noting the government’s generous provision of 600 scholarships and study loans.

However, it highlighted Taiwan’s ambitions to attract 95,000 international students by 2014. “Although outgoing student mobility is encouraged by both the government and Taiwanese higher education institutions, government policies and budget are more focused on promoting inbound student mobility,” states the report.

The new programme will prioritise students taking subjects needed by the economy, such as information and communication technology, electronics or bio-chemistry. Universities will be picked from the Times Higher Education world rankings.

“Currently the NSC is in talks with Japan’s Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, better known as RIKEN, Germany’s Julich Research Center, and US National Institutes of Health, regarding training mechanisms for Taiwan’s postdocs,” NSC Minister Cyrus C. Y. Chu said.

Last week ETS, administrators of the TOEFL English test, also announced it would increase funding for its TOEFL Scholarships Programme in Taiwan by $10,000. 10 Taiwanese will receive US$4,000 each to continue their education at undergraduate or graduate level overseas.

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