For the past year and a half, Taiwan’s higher education institutions have suffered a huge blow to their recruitment of international students due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sector is grappling with what it needs to do to attract international students again and return to a semblance of normality in a post-COVID-19 world.
Based on my experience in this field, I see three areas schools can look to exploit:
First, the online curriculums that have over the past 18 months been developed out of necessity will not fall away once the pandemic subsides. Many institutions have said that classrooms of the future would not predominantly be physical. Instead, courses would feature a mix of online and offline elements.
My organization’s research has shown that in the area of Chinese language studies, prospective students from overseas prefer online courses over conventional classes. We expect significant developments in distance learning.
Second, in addition to teaching, student recruitment will also mostly move online. The manifold online activities that have sprung up in response to COVID-19 have accelerated the digitization of overseas student recruitement.
Finally, the pandemic has also transformed subject preferences for international students. Interest in Taiwan’s medical and public health education courses has increased strongly, overtaking engineering, and is second only to business management.
Schools should look to exploit the recruitment and financial possibilities of the increased interest in Taiwan’s outstanding medical and public health system.
Once the pandemic subsides, more international students will want to select Taiwan to further their studies due to its liberal democracy and the high quality of its academic institutions.
Allen Hung is chief executive officer of the Association of International Cultural and Educational Exchange Taiwan.
Translated by Edward Jones
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