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MOE drafting plan for foreign students to enter Taiwan

With new semester looming, education ministry preparing plan to allow international students to enter country

MOE drafting plan for foreign students to enter Taiwan

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid complaints about an ongoing travel ban and with fall semester looming, Taiwan's Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that it is drafting plans to enable students without a residence permit to enter the country.

Although Taiwan on July 27 lowered its epidemic control measures to Level 2, and these are set to end on Aug. 9, international students who do not have a residence permit are still not allowed to enter the country. With classes set to start in September and a two-week quarantine still mandatory, international student groups such as the Hong Kong Student in Taiwan Mutual Association and Huayu Enrichment Scholarship students have issued public statements calling on the MOE to allow in foreign students as soon as possible.

In response to the question of when foreign students will be allowed to enter, an MOE representative on Thursday (Aug. 5) told Taiwan News that the ministry is maintaining close communication with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) over the global pandemic situation, the domestic outbreak, and epidemic prevention measures. The representative stated that the MOE is currently devising a plan to allow foreign students without residency to study in the country in the coming semester.

The details of the plan will first be discussed in an inter-ministerial meeting before being submitted to the CECC for approval. When the terms of the plan are agreed to by the CECC, the MOE will notify schools on how to arrange for the entry of their international students.

When asked why the MOE had not followed a similar plan used last year that enabled students from low- to medium-risk countries to come by July, the MOE said that the Delta variant-driven escalation of the global pandemic this year had prompted the CECC's July 26 decision to maintain strict border control measures. The ministry said it faces more stringent epidemic prevention measures than last year and has had to adjust its plans accordingly in order to allow the entry of foreign students for this academic year.

In response to concerns, the MOE said that to protect the educational rights of students, each school will initiate measures employed last year to enable enrollees to study safely. The ministry stated that schools will provide more flexible study and registration options, including online registration, asynchronous distance learning, synchronous online classes, and postponing some courses and internships to the winter vacation.

According to the MOE, there are 11,500 new foreign students overseas waiting to begin their studies in Taiwan in the coming semester. The ministry pointed out on Tuesday (Aug. 3) that students who already have a residence permit are already allowed to enter the country.