Foreign students in Taiwan cry out for help over quarantine

International students want financial aid to meet the costs of quarantine

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Foreign students hold rally at Ministry of Education. 

Foreign students hold rally at Ministry of Education.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A rally was held in front of the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (Aug. 7) calling for better treatment of international students who wish to come to Taiwan but face administrative obstacles and quarantine woes.

According to rally organizers, a foreign student has to pay between NT$30,000 (US$1,020) to NT$40,000 (US$1,361) for quarantine at hotels arranged by the universities to which they are admitted. This has created a financial burden for the students, many of whom have scholarships to attend school in Taiwan, reported Liberty Times.

The students made four demands: Increasing the availability of dormitories for isolation needs, providing quarantine subsidies, removing political reasons behind decisions to allow in students, and opening up for students regardless of nationality, wrote CNA.

The country currently counts 4,000 dorm units from 33 schools requisitioned for quarantine use, said Liao Kao-hsieng (廖高賢), vice counselor at the MOE Department of Technological and Vocational Education. The capacity falls far behind the promised 10,000 units, protestors complained.

Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) dismissed allegations that political factors were at play in Taiwan’s policies to reopen borders for international students. Stressing that disease control overrides all other concerns, Pan said university students are required to shoulder some of the costs while the government works to ramp up quarantine capacity at the campus.

The MOE changed course on Wednesday (Aug. 5) by prohibiting Chinese students from entering Taiwan over “cross-strait circumstances.” The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) refuted claims the move was politically-driven, saying it was China that implemented measures barring its pupils from studying in Taiwan.