TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - To commemorate Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's second year in office, chief of the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) is looking back at the achievements of the education projects made for the overseas compatriot students from the Southeast Asian countries under President Tsai Ing-wen's New Southbound Policy.
In terms of education, the OCAC has encouraged students to come to Taiwan for training and education. The number of overseas compatriot students coming to Taiwan has increased from 700+ to more than 1,000, in two years, and the students’ country of origin has also gradually expanded.
In an interview with the Central News Agency (CNA), Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興), the chairman of OCAC, said that over the past two years, the Taiwanese government has relaxed the number of schools participating in the “3+4 Overseas Compatriot Students' Technical and Vocational Training Courses,” and has actively enrolled students from Southeast Asian countries, and the results have been remarkable.
The students of the “3+4 Overseas Compatriot Students’ Technical and Vocational Training Courses” come to Taiwan to study in vocational high schools for 3 years. After graduation, they continue their studies for 4 years at technical colleges.
According to OCAC data, in 2016, there were only five participating schools and 754 overseas compatriot students studying in the program. In 2017, there were 12 schools participating with 1034 overseas compatriot students, and this year, the numbers have increased to 13 schools with 1,531 enrolled students.
Not only has the number of overseas compatriot vocational school students increased, but also the number of countries from which they have come. Wu said that a majority have been coming from Vietnam and Malaysia, and now, more students are also coming from Indonesia, Burma, and other countries.
He said that in the future, the OCAC will continue to expand the reach of this program and hope to recruit more Chinese-ethnic students of different nationalities by communicating with overseas compatriot parents and promote the services provided for overseas compatriot students.
Wu pointed out that in addition to the "3+4 Overseas Compatriot Students’ Technical and Vocational Training Courses," the OCAC also promotes youth technology courses for overseas compatriot students, overseas compatriot graduates and workers, and students who have come to Taiwan to study at two-year technical and vocational programs. The graduation certificate issued by the OCAC helps the overseas compatriots start their own businesses after returning home
According to OCAC data, in 2016, Overseas Youth Vocational Training Classes had 1,179 students distributed among 17 schools and in 2017 the number increased to 1,380 attending 21 schools.
With regard to the advantages of overseas students coming to study in Taiwan, Wu said that quality of vocational senior high schools and higher education in Taiwan is slightly better than Southeast Asian countries, including teachers and equipment.
At the same time, Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries are culturally similar. So the overseas compatriot students are able to integrate quickly into Taiwan’s society, including Taiwan's freedom and democracy among the advantages.
Wu conveys that the OCAC provides tuition subsidies to overseas students who are studying at Taiwan. Overseas compatriot students can also work part-time up to 20 hours per week, alleviating the financial burdens of studying abroad.
Additionally, the Overseas Credit Guarantee Fund (OCGFund) can provide a loan of NT$80,000 to overseas students who need assistance when they arrive in Taiwan, and then repay them in installments.
In order to attract more overseas compatriots to Taiwan, Wu mentions that the OCAC also discussed with related ministries and councils to relax the conditions under which the overseas compatriot students can remain in Taiwan after graduation.
He said that the draft of the "New Economic Immigration Law" planned by the Cabinet includes this modification. Those who graduate from vocational high school and receive their certification will be able to stay in Taiwan to look for a job, which will help increase Taiwan’s middle-level technical manpower.