President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would sacrifice the interests of Taiwanese students by his initiative to allow more Chinese students to study in Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.
The relaxation of regulations and an influx of Chinese students could put local students’ rights to education and work and the fair distribution of educational resources at risk, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.
Rather than pay attention to the more important issue of 12-year compulsory education, which is scheduled to be introduced in 2014, Pan said, Ma instructed the Ministry of Education during a meeting of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee on Wednesday to review its policy and relax regulations to attract more Chinese students.
Pan said he wondered why Ma was in such a hurry to bring in more Chinese students, when most parents and students were having a hard time figuring out the new education system.
“It seems to me that everything related to China is a priority for President Ma,” he said.
While the policy on allowing Chinese students to enter universities is only six months old, distribution of educational and vocational resources has been a growing concern, he said.
Local students at Fu Jen Catholic University, Chinese Culture University and Shih Hsin University protested last year over a lack of dormitory space and part-time jobs.
The DPP insists on keeping existing regulations in place, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.
The ministry currently applies the policy of “three restrictions and six noes.” The total quota of Chinese students is capped and Chinese students are prohibited from receiving scholarships; working part-time or full-time and sitting civil service examinations.
Ma’s proposals go beyond what other “student-friendly” nations offer foreigners, a legislator said.
As friendly and open-minded as the US is to international students, the US still implements a series of restrictions, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said.
In response, KMT legislative caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the DPP’s criticism was based on ideology, adding that cross-strait exchanges should be conducted with less restrictions.