President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday instructed the Ministry of Education to review its policy and relax regulations to attract more Chinese students to Taiwan.
The policy, which was launched six months ago, aims to promote cross-strait exchanges in education.
In an effort to protect the rights of local students, however, the government imposed restrictions, including banning Chinese students from taking certification exams and not allowing them to stay in Taiwan after they graduate.
The ministry should examine the policy and adjust some regulations to achieve its goal, Ma said yesterday, speaking to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee.
“The policy is part of our goal to strengthen cross-strait exchanges and of course we want to attract great students. But it would be hard to keep talent with too many restrictions, and I think the ministry should discuss [the restrictions] and make the necessary adjustments,” he said.
The KMT’s Central Standing Committee yesterday invited Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) to present a report on its education policy. Chang attributed the the lower-than-expected number of Chinese students to the restrictions.
As part of Ma’s cross-strait policies, the ministry began a program last year that opened more than 100 colleges and universities to 2,000 Chinese students each year.
Under the policy, 67 universities are allowed to admit a total of 1,123 Chinese students and 65 technology colleges can take in 877, in line with an annual quota of 2,000 imposed by the government.
The quota should not affect the original recruitment plans of the participating schools and Chinese students are not eligible for scholarships.
Chiang said that 928 Chinese students took advantage of the program to enroll in Taiwanese schools last year and the ministry is reviewing the policy to examine factors behind the low enrollments.
“The restrictions are able to resolve society’s doubts, but they also affect Chinese students’ willingness to come and study in Taiwan … If the government’s aim is to attract the best students to Taiwan and raise the country’s competitiveness in higher education, the restrictions contradict that goal,” he said.
Chiang said the ministry would focus discussion on issues which include the number of Chinese students allowed in Taiwan and adjustment of the enrollment schedule to facilitate the application process.