The Taiwan Higher Education Fair, which opened on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, bears symbolic value for the “new southbound policy” formulated by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Deputy Minister of Education Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.
Chen, leading officials from 99 tertiary institutes at the fair, now in its 10th year, made the remarks in his opening speech at the event.
“The Taiwan Higher Education Fair bears symbolic meaning for the human-centered ‘new southbound policy’ the government is promoting, which focuses on sharing resources and reciprocal exchanges,” Chen said, referring to the policy, which aims to boost trade between Taiwan and its ASEAN neighbors and bilateral exchanges of students and academics.
Chen said that Malaysia is Taiwan’s largest source of foreign university students, thanked university officials who attended the fair and called for their continued dedication to recruiting Malaysian students.
According to the Ministry of Education, the number of Malaysian students in Taiwan has continued to reach new heights over the years.
Ministry statistics showed the number of Malaysian university students last year reached 14,946, a 12.5 percent increase compared with the number recorded in 2014.
The ministry said that as Malaysian students have consistently achieved academic excellence in Taiwan, about half of the recipients of annual scholarships and subsidies for foreign university students are Malaysian.
To promote the policy, the ministry said it would significantly raise the number of Taiwan Scholarships earmarked for students from ASEAN and India, adding that 30 Malaysian students would be granted the scholarship.
Chen also attended a news conference marking the start of collaboration between the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia and 11 Taiwanese universities, at which the two sides signed a letter of intent to cultivate Chinese-language teachers.
According to the document, Malaysian students who graduate from any of the 60 independent Chinese high schools operated by the association and apply to one of the 11 Taiwanese universities would have their tuition covered by the association in the form of student loans.
After the students return to Malaysia and teach Chinese at one of the schools for four years, the loans would be converted into scholarships and written off, in a bid to help resolve a lack of Chinese-language teachers at the schools, the ministry said.
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