An education service yesterday announced a scholarship program for students planning to study abroad, out of concern about the declining number of local students willing to study abroad.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS), an educational testing organization that conducts English proficiency tests, said the program would provide scholarships worth a total of US$40,000 to 10 students who have a valid Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score.
The service administers the TOEFL, the Test of English for International Communication and the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) worldwide. The ETS said it first launched the scholarship program last year and added that this year, the total amount of money to be awarded to the 10 students is US$10,000 more than last year.
ETS Global Managing Director Zoubir Yazid said the move was aimed at expanding the international mobility of talented students.
The offer came in the wake of concerns voiced by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) about the number of overseas students reaching an historic low in the middle of this month.
Ma said that while about 50,000 students studied in the US 30 years ago, the figure has dropped to below 30,000.
The number of students applying for visas to study abroad in 2010 stood at 33,881, with 15,890 applying to study in the US, according to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Education.
In response to the declining number of students prepared to study overseas, the ministry, the National Science Council, Academia Sinica and the Executive Yuan last month announced an overseas technology talent recruitment program.
The program has a budget of about US$5 million a year, to grant 116 students scholarships for doctoral or post-doctoral degrees at the world’s top 30 universities.