Mon, Mar 25, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ma defends relaxation of masters degree restrictions

HALF-BAKED:Critics say the government’s plan to ease regulations on eligibility to masters programs to retain talented professionals in Taiwan is only a partial solution

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended the government’s move to relax regulations on executive master of business administration (EMBA) degrees in a bid to prevent talented peoplefrom leaving Taiwan, as the restrictions came under fire after an award-winning baker was prompted to go to Singapore after being denied entry into local degree programs.

Ma last week instructed the Ministry of Education to relax the regulations so that people like Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春) could apply to enter an EMBA program at local universities after media reported that the master baker had been unable to enroll in local EMBA programs because he did not have a college degree or a “class A technician” certificate and so opted to go abroad.

Critics have dismissed the Ma administration’s handling of the matter as passive and providing only a partial solution to the flaws of the nation’s education system and talent outflow.

Meanwhile, Wu has said that he does not want to receive any special treatment and will continue preparing to study at the National University of Singapore.

Ma yesterday said that although it was Wu’s specific case that had prompted the review of the regulations, any amendments would apply to all types of professionals who want to pursue higher education, but do not have a college diploma.

“While it’s crucial for Taiwan to attract foreign talent, Mr Wu’s case has reminded the government that it is equally important for us to make sure that education policy also keeps local talent at home,” Mas said on his Facebook page.

Ma added that he had ordered the ministry to review the policy during a meeting to discuss ways to attract and cultivate talented professionals. The ministry has said that it will amend the Standards for Recognition of Equivalent Educational Level As Qualified for Entering University within one month.

The amendment will seek to relax restrictions for subjects that do not offer “class A technician” certificates to allow applications from those who possess “class B technician” certificates and have five years work experience.

The changes would also make individuals that have performed exceptionally in international competitions, or who have been contracted by universities as skills instructors eligible for masters programs.

For example, the changes would allow Wu, 42, who won the Bakery Master competition for bread at the Bakery World Cup in Paris in 2010, to enroll in EMBA programs despite not having a college degree.

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