The Ministry of Education (MOE) is stepping up academic exchanges with Europe, especially Germany, as an increasing number of Taiwanese students seek opportunities to study abroad, a ministry official said yesterday.
Chang Chin-sheng (張欽勝), director of the Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, told the Taipei Times that the country's academic exchange agreement with Germany, which paves the way for Taiwanese students to attend some of that country's top art colleges and universities, had been expanded to include tertiary education institutions in Austria.
The expansion has led to a name change of the ministry commission that oversees such exchanges, from the "Taiwan-Germany Executive Commission for Academic Exchanges" to the "Taiwan-Europe Executive Commission for Academic Exchanges," according to a press release by the ministry yesterday.
"In the beginning, the commission dealt with exchanges with Germany, but now we're enjoying exchanges with Austria, and we hope to expand those to other European countries," Chang said, referring to the "possibility" of creating task forces on the commission to handle exchanges with France and Belgium.
"European schools' recruitment of local students, and European Union scholarships for international students have sparked renewed interest in schools there in recent years," he said.
Signed by the commission and a union of German universities last year, the Taiwanese-German Academic Links Agreement allows a handful of outstanding Taiwanese art students to study at some of Germany's best schools with generous funding from Taiwan's Ministry of Education, the release said.
Last year, 15 students studied in Germany under the agreement, it said.
In addition, 35 applicants were accepted for Germany and five for Austria this year.
Scholarships of NT$100,000 per semester, for up to two semesters, will be given to this year's exchange students, it said.
As the ministry already awards scholarships to European students studying in Taiwan, the agreement pertains to just Taiwanese art students seeking to study in Europe, Chang said.
Officials at the German Cultural Center, which oversees educational and cultural exchanges with Taiwan, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The ministry is now accepting applications. For more details, see www.iee.nccu.edu.tw/data/TaiDer_guideline.pdf.