A Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said on Thursday that signing diploma exchange agreements with Chinese universities was a private matter for local universities to decide on, but warned that the law did not recognize Chinese academic credentials.
MAC Vice Chairman Chao Chien-min (趙建民) said the nation’s higher educational institutes were free to forge academic cooperation agreements with their counterparts across the Taiwan Strait.
However, students’ interests might be compromised if National Taiwan University (NTU) and Peking University (PKU) were to launch a system under which postgraduate students from either school would be awarded postgraduate degrees from the other before the Taiwanese legislature approves regulations on recognizing Chinese academic credentials.
Chao, a former academic, said Taiwanese colleges and universities have signed more than 1,000 agreements with Chinese institutions for various academic exchange programs.
However, since the legislature has not yet approved an amendment to the Statute Governing Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) to make it possible for Taiwan to recognize Chinese academic credentials, qualifications obtained by Taiwanese students in China cannot be recognized here.
NTU and PKU officials met in Taipei on Tuesday for discussions on academic cooperation, with PKU president Zhou Qifeng (周其鳳) proposing a system for co-awarding postgraduate degrees.
Zhou suggested at the seminar that professors from NTU and PKU could co-advise postgraduate students at the two universities, NTU vice president Chen Tai-Jen (陳泰然) said.
Upon completing their studies, NTU postgraduate students would receive a master’s or doctoral degree from NTU and PKU, while PKU postgraduate students would also be awarded degrees from their own university and NTU, Chen said.
Chen said he would be happy to see this happen, but added that Zhou’s proposal could not be realized until the passage of legal amendments.