The Ministry of Education has decided to relax the rules on the qualifications of business school applicants who have technical or vocational training, or professional achievements, but do not hold a bachelor’s degree.
The revision, announced on Friday, was made after famed baker Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春) said that despite his culinary and business achievements he failed to meet the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) admission requirements, because he did not hold a bachelor’s degree.
Wu became a household name and a source of national pride after winning the top title at the 2010 Bakery World Cup in Paris.
EMBA programs typically require either a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years work experience, or a Class A license — the top accreditation for professions such as doctors, lawyers and engineers.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) recently said that it had received Wu’s application to its Chinese EMBA program and it had sent its Chinese EMBA program director to Taiwan to interview Wu.
The incident sparked nationwide debate about the rigid education system. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) asked the ministry to review related regulations in the hope of encouraging Wu to study at home.
As a result, the ministry on Friday promulgated revisions to the requirements by granting equivalent qualifications to professionals in three categories, including allowing Class B license holders with at least five years work experience to enroll in master’s programs.
Teachers at vocational schools and junior colleges are also entitled to equivalent qualifications for university and graduate school entrance examinations.
In addition, people with outstanding achievements in their respective professional fields would be allowed to enroll in master’s programs after their applications have been approved by university entrance committees.
However, people in this category would not be allowed to enroll at the 60 universities which have been included in a plan to help them become the nation’s top universities, and are part of a national plan to encourage teaching excellence in universities.
After the ministry relaxed the standards, Wu’s agent said Taiwan is still his top choice for advanced studies.
The agent added that Wu is currently preparing for the second phase of interviews with NUS.
The deadline for Wu to apply for Taiwanese EMBA programs has passed and he would have to wait until next year to reapply.