As part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “new southbound policy,” the Ministry of Education is to provide educational funding for second-generation immigrants, allocate more scholarships for foreign students and encourage museums in Southeast Asia to exhibit the collections of Taiwanese museums.
The “new southbound policy” aims to boost interactions between Taiwan and ASEAN and South Asian nations in the areas of human resources, industry, investment, education, culture, tourism and agriculture.
In a bid to attract second-generation Southeast Asian immigrants to lead the program, the ministry said it would task vocational schools and junior colleges with establishing courses on the Southeast Asian trade and finance environment.
The courses would prioritize the applications of students from immigrant families and offer sizable scholarships, the ministry said, adding that the program would start next year and accept 300 students.
The program is scheduled to run for five years, the ministry added.
The focus of the policy is to create a better educational environment that can bridge, as much as possible, the gap between educational theory and practical implementation, Deputy Minister of Education Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.
The end goal of the policy is to create a platform for international cooperation, streamline the movement of workers between countries and improve educational facilities, Chen said.
The ministry is to provide subsidies for 10 universities next year to establish presences in the Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.
Among schools that have expressed an interest, National Taiwan University plans to start joint recruitment programs in Malaysia at the end of this year, Chen said.
In addition, the ministry plans to encourage the exhibition of collections from Taiwanese museums in India and ASEAN countries, Chen said, adding that such exhibitions might be seen by more than 100,000 visitors, which would significantly boost the nation’s international profile.
The ministry has also budgeted hundreds of millions New Taiwan dollars to provide scholarships for 182 students from Southeast Asian countries to study in Taiwan, Chen said.
The ministry has increased its educational subsidies budget to include 700 more students from disadvantaged families and provide for 40 more foreign students studying for their master’s degrees, Chen said.
The ministry has earmarked subsidies for schools to set up campuses in the region so foreign students planning on coming to Taiwan would first be able to take courses at Southeast Asian branches, in a bid to make their transitions smoother, Chen said.
The ministry is also proposing a program that would allow local students to apply for internships in areas such as e-commerce, biomedicine, IT and traditional industries in Taiwanese companies operating in India and ASEAN.
The ministry’s Youth Development Administration said that it is arranging for volunteer youth groups to attend events held by nongovernmental organizations in Southeast Asia, adding that it expects about 2,000 participants to attend.
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