Mon, Jul 13, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Most Taiwanese students will shun China, official says

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A high-ranking education official yesterday expressed confidence that distinguished high school students would stay and study in Taiwan despite China’s plan to allow Taiwanese to apply for places at Chinese universities using their scores on the Taiwanese college entrance exams.

Department of Higher Education Director Ho Cho-fei (何卓飛) said a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education showed that up to 80 percent of respondents said they would not send their children to study in China even if Taiwan recognized Chinese diplomas.

Only 8 percent of those polled said they would consider the option, while 12 percent said they would choose to do so even if the government decided not to recognize Chinese diplomas, Ho said.

“Those who want to go [to study in China] will go anyway, but most will stay,” Ho said.

Ho made the remarks in response to an announcement by Chinese Vice Minister of Education Yuan Gui-ren (袁貴仁) during the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forum in Changsha, Hunan Province, at the weekend.

Yuan said on Saturday that China was planning to allow Taiwanese students who score well on Taiwan’s college entrance examinations to apply to study at universities in China. Yuan said Taiwanese students would be admitted if they passed interviews.

Currently, Taiwanese students who wish to attend Chinese universities have to either take special entrance examinations for students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau or sit China’s college entrance examination. Taiwanese students receive an extra 20-point bonus on their scores.

However, Taiwan does not recognize Chinese diplomas, even though the KMT administration has announced that recognition of the diplomas would be one of the objectives of its cross-strait educational exchanges.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has objected to the policy.

KMT Legislator Cheng Chin-ling (鄭金玲) of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee said China’s plan could serve as a driving force for Taiwanese universities to improve the quality of their teaching.

On the other hand, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), also a member of the committee, voiced her concern that China could take this opportunity to force the Taiwanese government to recognize Chinese diplomas.

She said that the survival of Taiwan’s universities might be at stake if more Taiwanese students studied in China.

Meanwhile, Peking University president Zhou Qifeng (周其鳳), who is in Taiwan for an eight-day visit to promote academic and student exchanges among tertiary education institutions, said he hoped his visit would help persuade Taiwan to recognize Chinese diplomas.

“It is widely believed that Taiwanese recognition of Chinese diplomas and academic accreditations will further boost cross-strait student exchanges and mutual understanding,” Zhou said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Peking University admits about 200 Taiwanese students each year, Zhou said.

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