Bill aims to exempt new citizens from college tests

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 1

Lawmakers yesterday passed an amendment to the University Act (大學法) that would exempt newly naturalized citizens seeking to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the General Scholastic Ability Test or the joint examination for four-year technology institutes and two-year junior colleges.

The Ministry of Education is to set rules on the testing, quotas, recruitment and qualifications of new citizens, as well as the composition of recruitment committees at institutions, the amendment says.

The rules on the recruitment of former Chinese citizens would be announced by the Executive Yuan, it says.

Before naturalization, such individuals are allowed to attend university as “foreign students,” but after they become Republic of China citizens, they lose this right, said Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Li-fen (李麗芬), who sponsored the bill.

This is a strange rule, as it puts new citizens whose native languages are not Chinese at a disadvantage, because they would have to take the same exams as Taiwanese when trying to enter college, she said.

New citizens should be commended if they decide to study for a bachelor’s degree, as they often have to attend to family issues, Lee said, adding that hopefully the amendment would help them fulfill their dreams and boost the nation’s international competitiveness.

Separately yesterday, lawmakers approved an amendment to the Teacher Education Act (師資培育法) that would require state-sponsored language teachers to teach national languages if required to by the ministry.

Universities that educate elementary to senior-high school teachers should offer courses to train state-sponsored teachers on teaching national languages, the amendment says.

The act stipulates that state-sponsored students majoring in education must teach in the nation’s remote areas after they graduate.

National languages, as defined by the National Languages Development Act (國家語言發展法), include Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), Hakka, indigenous languages and Taiwan sign language.