A group of universities has announced a plan to enroll 3,000 Indians in Chinese-language courses over the next three years, pending approval by the Ministry of Education.
Former minister of education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基) said that during his tenure in 2011, he signed a memorandum of cooperation with the then-Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development to launch a program for Indian graduate students learning Chinese.
The Taiwan University of Education network of schools, which Wu now leads, is taking charge of the program, which is to be joined by a number of private schools, Wu said on Sunday.
Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to start the trial this academic year had to be postponed to next year at the soonest, pending action from the ministry to increase the limit on foreign student numbers, said Chen Chen-kuei (陳振貴), a visiting professor at the Dahan Institute of Technology.
There are many well-educated young people from India who are recruited by famous global brands, India-Taipei Association Deputy Director-General Bijoy Das said.
Knowing Chinese could improve their communication skills, adaptability and employability, as well as promote Taiwan-India business cooperation, he said.
Even though many Indians eventually return home, if Taiwan can provide a good environment for career growth, Das said he believes that even more Indians would stay in Taiwan to work.
As for Chinese-language efforts in India, Wang Wei-chung (王偉中), who heads the Center for India Studies at National Tsing Hua University, said he has visited the nation 44 times over the past decade to help establish its nine Taiwan Education Centers.
Over the period, the centers went from serving 400 to as many as 4,000 students, Wang said, adding that they also link Taiwanese businesses in India with potential employees.
This year, the centers plan to publish a textbook that would incorporate Chinese-language education with cultural information, Wang said.
In related news, 14 schools have so far signed up to participate in the “excellent Huayu” program partnering local schools with universities in Europe and the US, the ministry said.
The program was created to offer an alternative to China’s Confucius Institutes to schools wishing to offer Chinese-language courses.
As part of the plan, the ministry would provide subsidies for partnered schools to exchange teaching staff, as well as scholarships of NT$25,000 per month for students to study Chinese in Taiwan, it said.
It would also provide online Chinese-language resources, lobby foreign schools to accept academic credit from Taiwanese institutions, help schools administer language tests and organize teacher training expeditions, the ministry added.
In the long term, the ministry said it hopes to establish its own Chinese-langauge centers in European and US universities.
Additional reporting by Rachel Lin
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