A US academic has expressed support for Taiwan’s policy of opening its universities to Chinese students, saying the step is essential if Taiwanese universities are to stay competitive.
According to William Kirby, a distinguished professor at Harvard University and a historian of modern China, internalization is a big challenge for universities both in Taiwan and the US when their counterparts in China are growing fast in size and quality and becoming increasingly internationalized.
“Taiwan and the United States have to move fast to recruit the very best from anywhere,” Kirby said in a dialogue with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that was featured in the latest edition of Ma’s online video journal released yesterday.
Kirby pointed out that universities in China are getting stronger by recruiting students and faculty not only from all over China but also from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US.
The School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, for example, has a high -percentage of foreign students and half its courses are taught in English, he said.
Taiwan, however, enjoys great advantages that are not found in China, he said.
These include democracy, rule of law and a long-standing spirit of open inquiry, he said.
“If its [Taiwan’s] education system can truly be as open as its economy has become, and seek the best faculty and the best students from all sources, it will be the best in Asia and it will be a natural magnet for talent in the coming decade,” Kirby said.