President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called for a loosening of regulations to allow more Chinese to study in Taiwan and said they should receive National Health Insurance coverage.
“Allowing Chinese students to study in Taiwan is a policy that has more advantages than disadvantages... If overseas compatriot students can be included in [foreign] health insurance systems, there is no reasons that Chinese students should not receive coverage here,” he said at a university presidents’ forum at Kun Shan University in Greater Tainan.
Encouraging more Chinese to study in the country is part of Ma’s policy to enhance cross-strait exchanges in education. More than 100 colleges and universities now accept Chinese students. There were 2,850 Chinese enrolled at local universities last year.
To protect the rights of Taiwanese students, Chinese students are banned from taking certification exams and they must leave the country after they graduate.
Ma said the Ministry of Education should relax those restrictions and allow more Chinese students to enter the country.
The government will also consider allowing universities to hold expositions in China to attract more students, he said.
“I believe in the competitiveness of Taiwanese universities, and if we set up boundaries, we will not get the best international students as universities in other countries do,” Ma said.
Ma also recognized the opposition camp’s friendlier gestures toward Chinese students, describing the moves as “delayed justice.”
Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) said some regulations were loosened last year and the ministry now recognizes degrees from 111 Chinese universities and 191 colleges. It will consider recognizing 18 more Chinese schools that specialize in arts, music and dancing, he added.
The number of Chinese students in Taiwan is expected to reach 5,700 this year, Chiang said.
A group of students tried to climb the walls at Kun Shan University in a bid to enter the forum to protest against education policies. They were removed by police.