Southeast Asian enrollments at tertiary education institutions this academic year exceeded the government’s target of 40,300 by 700, Acting Minister of Education Yao Leeh-ter (姚立德) said on Thursday.
Students from Southeast Asian countries accounted for 35 percent of tertiary education enrollments by foreign students in Taiwan in the academic year ending this summer, Yao said at a news conference about the government’s progress in fostering talent as part of its New Southbound Policy.
A government program aims to help schools in Taiwan and countries covered by the New Southbound Policy to work together to cultivate talent and promote professional exchanges, Yao said.
As part of the program, the government set a goal of attracting at least 40,300 students from those countries in the 2017-2018 academic year, but about 41,000 enrolled, Yao said, adding that the target for the coming academic year is 58,000.
The government is planning to introduce technical and vocational training programs for students from countries covered by the New Southbound Policy, particularly Malaysia, the main source of foreign students in Taiwan, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) quoted Premier William Lai (賴清德) as saying.
During a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, the premier issued a directive for the Ministry of Education to devise a system for the recruitment of vocational and technical students from the target countries in light of China’s aggressive strategies to lure foreign talent, Hsu said.
He quoted Lai as saying that the National Development Council has proposed a draft act to encourage economic immigration, with the aim of attracting foreign professionals, technicians, business immigrants and Taiwanese expatriates to supplement the nation’s workforce, Hsu said.
The premier also told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to invite Southeast Asian officials to Taiwan for training purposes, as they can aid Taiwan’s efforts to recruit students from the region, Hsu said.
The New Southbound Policy seeks to strengthen relations with ASEAN members, South Asian nations, and Australia and New Zealand.
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