Summer best time for foreign students to enter Taiwan: MOE

MOE head says summer vacation best time to allow foreign students back into Taiwan

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Norwegian students celebrate Lunar New Year with Taiwanese students. (CNA photo)

Norwegian students celebrate Lunar New Year with Taiwanese students. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) on Sunday (June 14) said the best time to allow foreign students to return to Taiwan is during summer vacation as the country surpasses two months without a local Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

After attending the re-opening ceremony for the National Taipei University's library on Sunday, Pan told reporters that the best time for Taiwan to open up its borders to foreign students is during summer vacation, reported CNA. Due to the large numbers of students who will need to be quarantined, having them arrive over the summer vacation will provide more time for them to undergo quarantine before starting school.

Pan reasoned that there would be more vacant rooms available to house the influx of foreign students. He suggested that the students could be brought in different batches, with students graduating soon and from low-risk countries given a higher priority.

However, Pan emphasized that the final decision on when to allow foreign students to enter the country is ultimately up to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). A recent meeting held by the Cabinet came to the preliminary conclusion that the country should first wait for the epidemic in other countries to subside before allowing large numbers of students to enter the country.

Once the government deems the situation overseas stable enough, officials will allow foreign students to enter based on quarantine facility capacity. The Association of National Universities in Taiwan, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, the Association of Private Universities and Colleges, the Hong Kong Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities, and other groups have recently been calling on the government to open Taiwan's borders to foreign students as soon as possible.

China Times on Friday (June 12) cited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) as recommending that Taiwan's 42,000 foreign students be allowed to re-enter Taiwan in waves over the summer vacation, as there would be enough time to undergo 14 days of quarantine with six days of preparation time to spare before classes start. She suggested that the 8,000 students scheduled to graduate be allowed to enter the country first.