Sun, May 29, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Minister to detail educational policies at legislature

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) is to review policies ranging from the new southbound policy and an overhaul of the evaluation system to fostering a pluralistic higher education system in his first administrative report at the legislature tomorrow, the Ministry of Education said.

In a handout it delivered to the legislature, the ministry said it would seek to promote reciprocal academic exchanges with Southeast and South Asian nations by increasing the number of visiting academics and students between Taiwan and the two regions, in accordance with a goal established in President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) new southbound policy.

The ministry said that university students from ASEAN, India, New Zealand and Australia constitute one-fourth of the total number of exchange students in the nation, and that it would seek to build on that foundation to further deepen ties with those nations.

The ministry said it would work with local institutes to diversify application channels and increase opportunities for foreign students to participate in internship programs.

Scholarships would be allocated to increase interest in learning Chinese, as well as to entice foreign students and officials to study in Taiwan, it said.

Regarding ways to generate local interest in studying abroad and help students develop an understanding of Southeast and South Asia, the ministry said that it would review existing exchange programs in relation with the two regions, as well as establish more scholarship programs focused on sending students to schools in ASEAN, northern Europe and India.

The ministry said it would initiate talks with prestigious universities in those regions and set up joint scholarships to cultivate talent.

As for policies to help universities facing closure amid a plummeting birth rate, the ministry said it would seek to reform the university evaluation system, which would help the institutions reinvent themselves by offering new courses.

Pan last week said that a reform in the evaluation system could be achieved by balancing what he said was an overly large weighting assigned to a school’s academic performance with the weighting of its capacity to offer students courses on practical skills.

He said that such a move would also have the benefit of helping close a perceived gap between what students learn at school and what they do at work.

The ministry said transformation at institutions needing reform would be carried out after analyses of the needs of the industries and the strengths of the schools are conducted.

It said it would encourage schools to strengthen their ties with the private sector to improve the quality and number of business-academia cooperative internship programs, adding that it would provide counseling services to schools committed to innovation.

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