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Thu, Feb 08, 2001 - Page 2 News List

China schools law makes progress

EXPATRIATES Schools in China set up by Taiwanese businessmen and meeting Taiwan education ministry standards will get official approval, if a new bill is passed

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amendments to a draft that will enable Taiwan businessmen working in China to found schools there, was passed at an Executive Yuan meeting yesterday and will be reviewed by the legislature.

If the bill is passed by legislators it will help solve educational difficulties faced by the children of Taiwan businesspeople in China.

The draft states that Taiwan businessmen -- if they are working legally in China -- are allowed to set up high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens in China after obtaining permission from the Ministry of Education.

Educational certificates from the schools will be automatically recognized by the education ministry.

Anyone intending to establish schools in China, however, will have to meet criteria stipulated by the education ministry relating to the schools' teaching materials and qualifications for the schools' principals and teachers.

Chao Chieh-fu (趙傑夫), director of the Department of Cultural and Educational Affairs, under the Mainland Affairs Council, said the formulation of this law was to provide such schools in China with a legal foundation.

"Given that Taiwan investors in China are steadily on the rise, we considered it necessary to assist children of these businessmen and fulfill their educational needs," Chao said.

"The introduction of these regulations will give a legal basis for the founding of these schools."

Opened last September, Dongguan Taiwan Businessmen's Children School (東莞台商子弟學校), in China's Guangdong Province, is presently the only official school for children of Taiwanese businessmen. The school has around 700 students and comprises a high school, a primary school and a kindergarten.

According to Wu Chin-chang (吳錦漳), an official of the Mainland Affairs Division (大陸事務工作小組) under the Ministry of Education, the school in Dongguan was set up in accordance with the formula designed for Taipei schools overseas, which have been established by businesspeople working in Southeast Asian countries.

"This is the reason why we needed to initiate a special rule for schools in China, because circumstances between China and South Eastern Asian countries are quite different," Wu said, adding that Taiwan businessmen working in Jiangsu Province's Kunshan (昆山) intend to found a school there.

Liu Wen-huei (劉文惠), section chief of the Mainland Affairs Division, told the Taipei Times that children from Taiwan living in China were entitled to receive the same quality of education as their counterparts in Taiwan.

She said the education ministry was prepared to offer money and help with staff recruitment.

"We want to provide financial assistance, as long as these schools comply with principles set up by the education ministry.

"[These schools] have to hire teachers and principals from Taiwan and adopt the teaching materials approved by our education ministry."

Liu pointed out, however, that Taiwan businessmen would have to deal with the Chinese authorities and meet that country's regulations. Political problems between Taipei and Beijing prevented direct communication on the issue between the two, she said.

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