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Taiwan exceeds regional enrolment target

Taiwan enrolled 41,000 students from Southeast Asia in its tertiary institutions in 2017-18 – 700 more than the government’s target, according to the country’s acting minister of education Yao Leeh-ter.

After exceeding the 2018 target, the 2019 target will be 17,000 enrolments higher. Photo: Flickr/ Jorge Cancela

The target of 41,000 has been raised for the next academic year to 58,000

Yao said that the government has set new target for the next academic year is 58,000.

“Globalisation and internationalisation of Taiwan higher education is gaining momentum”

In January 2018, the Taiwanese government released a New Southbound Policy report that aimed “to strengthen Taipei’s relationships” with 10 countries of ASEAN, six states in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan), Australia, and New Zealand.

According to cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung, Taiwan will offer technical and vocational training programs for students from the NSP target countries, with an added focus on Malaysia

Hsu told local media this decision was taken “in light of China’s aggressive strategies to lure foreign talent”.

Between 2011 to 2016, the number of international students from NSP target countries rose from 18,426 to 31,540.

Sheng-Ju Chan of the National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan told The PIE News there were several effects for the increasing inflow of students.

“Taiwan has been keen to recruit overseas Chinese from south-east Asia from late 1950s in solidifying its political tie with these countries,” Chan said.

“On top of this, emerging economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia also send more graduates to Taiwan for further studies. In addition, some regional students come to learn Mandarin.”

The NSP report explained that universities would be offered subsides for establishing preparatory courses on language and technical training for South and Southeast Asian students.

It also set out how the Ministry of Education would subsidise 2,000 ASEAN students to attend summer school in Taiwan, and fund courses to focus on developing sought-after skills in NSP target countries.

Additionally, the target of 41,000 has been raised for the next academic year to 58,000.

Yinghuei Chen, dean, the International College at Asia University Taiwan, told The PIE  the increase was a good idea – while the sector booms.

“Why not, make hay while the sun shines? I think globalisation and internationalisation of Taiwan higher education is gaining momentum, due to world university ranking and student and faculty mobility,” Chen said.

Chen did not reveal whether he agreed with the increased target specifically, but told The PIE Asian students would continue to flock to Taiwan because of the low cost opportunities.

“It is foreseeable that more Asian students are attending Taiwanese universities simply because they are seeking quality education in transnational context with a reasonable cost.”

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