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Taiwanese universities set sights on Chinese students

Taiwanese universities set sights on Chinese students

Taipei, Oct.18 (CNA) Major Taiwanese universities, including those ranked at the top, have stepped up preparations to attract Chinese students even though the government has yet to enact related legislation.
Chinese students cannot obtain any tertiary academic degrees from Taiwanese institutions at present but are allowed to study at local universities for up to one year on student exchange programs, with the total number of undergraduate and graduate students and doctoral candidates not exceeding 1,000.
Currently, less than 300 Chinese students study at local universities or colleges around Taiwan.
Local universities plan to offer scholarships to attract Chinese nationals, but the Ministry of Education will ban local public academic institutions from financing the grants with public funds.
As a result, some prestigious schools, such as National Taiwan University (NTU) and National Cheng Kung University, are planning to raise funds from private donors or alumni for scholarships they hope will lure top-notch Chinese students.
"To enhance our competive edge in the world, it is important that we attract outstanding students, including those from China, to study at our campus, " said NTU Chief Secretary Liao Hsien-hao.
"To realize that goal, we have to raise funds from the private sector to set up scholarships for Chiense students, as financial incentives could be an important appeal." Regardless of the incentives local schools offer, they will not be able to allow Chinese nationals to enroll for full-time study until next September.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has referred to the Legislative Yuan a draft package of amendments to the University Act that would pave the way for Chinese students to pursue academic degrees in Taiwan.
But even if the Legislative Yuan passes it in the present legislative session, the government would still need another six months of preparations before the doors could be opened to Chinese students pursuing a degree.
According to MOE officials, China has about 10 million senior high school graduates intending to enroll in colleges or universities, but its tertiary education institutions can accommodate only about 5 million hopefuls.
As a result, South Korea and Japan have launched all-out efforts to attract Chinese students and many local schools are also following suit.
MOE officials said Chinese students now account for 60 percent of foreign students in Japanese tertiary institutions and 70 percent of foreign students in South Korea.
To uplift Taiwan's national competitivess and disseminate its values of democracy and freedom, the officials said Chinese students should be welcome to study in Taiwan.
(By Lin Si-yu and Sofia Wu)