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Foreign students planning to study Mandarin in Taiwan feeling left behind

At least 6,500 still waiting to be allowed in complain about unfair treatment

Foreign students attending a class in Taiwan in 2020. (MOE photo)

Foreign students attending a class in Taiwan in 2020. (MOE photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has promised to open up soon for thousands of international students who wish to study Chinese in the country but have not been permitted to do so due to border restrictions.

DPP legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) and Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) on Tuesday (Nov. 16) urged the government to relax border rules for overseas students who have enrolled in Mandarin courses in Taiwan but not been allowed entry, reported CNA.

About 6,500 such individuals are still waiting for the green light. Last month, a number of them published a letter to the education minister expressing frustration over what they called unfair treatment, per the China Times. Degree students and those studying on scholarships were permitted to enter Taiwan earlier this year.

Chiu made a plea on behalf of the non-scholarship students, who are a major source of income for Taiwan’s Mandarin education institutions. The number of people learning Chinese at these facilities dropped from 32,457 in 2019 to 16,802 this year, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Chiu believes border rules for international students should be based on vaccine administration and the overall COVID-19 situation in their home countries. Hsu suggested that the government seize the opportunity to promote the country’s Mandarin learning market, as China is growing out of favor in the eyes of many countries as a language-learning destination.

The MOE promised it will work with the health authorities to make arrangements for such students under certain conditions, taking into account the country’s pandemic control capacity. A scheme will be published in one month, CNA cited an MOE official as saying.

Updated : 2022-01-21 08:24 GMT+08:00