President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that the government will continue to ease restrictions on Chinese students in Taiwan, amid complaints of overly stringent regulations.
Ma said that another 70 Chinese universities were recently added to the list of institutions recognized by the government, bringing the total to 111.
In addition, the government is working to include Chinese students in the National Health Insurance program and allow them to serve as research assistants, he said.
“Basically, we are moving in a direction of liberalization toward Chinese students,” he said during a forum with students of Tunghai University in Greater Taichung.
“Interactions between young people across the Taiwan Strait lay great foundations for cross-strait peace. The two sides can better understand each other,” he said.
At the event, a student from China said that one month after his arrival in Taiwan, he made a decision to pursue advanced studies at a local university and therefore hopes the restrictions will be lifted to allow easier admission of Chinese students to graduate programs.
Universities began admitting Chinese students in 2011 in keeping with a government initiative to increase interaction and understanding among students from both sides of the Strait.
The government, however, has imposed various restrictions regarding the schools from which Chinese students can be drawn, the departments in which they can enroll at universities and the number of admissions.
Only students from eight Chinese provinces and cities are accepted at present.
A recent survey by the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University found that these restrictions can discourage Chinese students from studying in Taiwan.
Of the 3,138 senior-high and university students from China’s Fujian, Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces who took part in the survey, 20.9 percent said they had no interest in studying in Taiwan, citing restrictions on Chinese students.
The 39.1 percent who said they would like to study in Taiwan listed as positive factors the good reputation of Taiwan’s universities, good public order in Taiwan, and lower tuition fees than in the US or Europe.
The other 40 percent did not express an opinion on the matter.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih