Mon, Mar 18, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Recruiting agencies criticized

EDUCATION The DPP's Chang Ching-fang says brokerage agencies are breaking the law by recruiting Taiwanese students on behalf of Chinese post-secondary institutions

By Lin Miao-jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP lawmaker Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) alleged yesterday that at least 10 brokerage agencies are illegally recruiting Taiwanese students on behalf of Chinese universities.

Chang held a press conference yesterday to make the allegations.

The lawmaker said the brokerage agencies were violating Article 23 of the Statute Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例).

The article says that Taiwanese nationals and brokers are barred from recruiting students for any educational institution based in China. Violators can face a fine of up to NT$1 million or a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Flouting the law, several agencies have been recruiting students in public, promising to help Taiwanese students enroll in prestigious universities in China such as Beijing University, in addition to helping male students get out of compulsory military service, Chang alleged.

An agency located in northern Taiwan also boasted of its cross-strait study programs, he said. According to Chang, the agency told students they don't need to go to schools in China to study, but instead the agency will bring in professors from China to meet with students on a regular basis.

In this way, students can continue their work in Taiwan and obtain their degree after a certain period of time.

Another agency in southern Taiwan promises to help students enroll in prestigious schools in exchange for NT$600,000 to NT$1 million in fees.

"The practice not only violates the law, but also may involve in deception and inappropriate solicitation," Chang said.

Chang called for the government to crack down on these agencies.

"So far, not a single government agency has taken notice of the situation, nor has the law been thoroughly implemented," he said.

To solve the problem once and for all, Chang said the government should recognize Chinese diplomas and academic degrees as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Education has not yet recognized credentials issued by Chinese universities.

"Since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) China policy is `active opening and effective management,' the government should consider amending the current law to recognize Chinese diplomas and degrees," Chang said.

Chang said Taiwan should recognize degrees issued by universities in China for two reasons. First, more and more Taiwanese students have been pursuing their degrees across the Taiwan Strait. Second, mutual recognition of diplomas and degrees is inevitable in the wake of Taiwan's and China's accession to the WTO.

What's more, Chang said, recognizing Chinese diplomas is a way of expressing goodwill to its Chinese counterpart.

"However, the relaxation of the ban should not be unilateral. We also welcome Chinese students to study in Taiwan," he said.

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