Guiding Overseas Chinese Students to Study in Taiwan
The overseas Chinese education policy of our nation is related to the origin of the Republic of China (Taiwan). In 1914, due to the importance of the concept “no overseas Chinese education, no overseas Chinese affairs”, the Ministry of Education announced the Directive Rule of Overseas Chinese Children Returning to Our Nation to Study. In 1929, the Overseas Chinese Education Design Committee was established. Since 1974, affairs and measures such as: overseas Chinese students’ school work guidance during vacations, the basic academic subject school work guidance, and overseas Chinese students’ counseling and guidance have all been carried out. In 1976, government scholarships were provided to overseas Chinese students, which in 2004 were transformed into scholarships for students in need. Since the academic year 84, each university has established the University Entrance Committee for Overseas Chinese Students (UECOCS), to undertake affairs of student recruitment and placement. In the academic year 92, the Outstanding Overseas Chinese Student Scholarship was set up. Since the academic year 97, universities and colleges have been provided with subsidies to establish the Outstanding Overseas Chinese Student Scholarship for Master’s Programs, to further accelerate and smooth the direct entrance paths from university graduates to master’s programs. In the academic year 99, the Elite Overseas Chinese Student Scholarship was set up.
In the academic year 100, multiple recruitment paths for overseas Chinese students were established. Overseas Chinese students were provided with opportunities of a one-year internship in Taiwan after their graduation. In October 2012, the entrance paths for doctoral and master’s programs for overseas Chinese students graduating from universities were comprehensively unblocked and accelerated. In August 2013, in accordance with the implementation of 12-year basic education in the academic year 103, the priority entrance regulations for overseas Chinese students were revised; and the application procedure regulations of overseas Chinese students’ entries and exits during academic semesters were relaxed. In June 2014, the regulations of overseas Chinese student recruitment numbers were relaxed, which assisted all schools in recruiting an additional 10% recruitment of student numbers, in addition to the original recruitment numbers of the current academic year. In November 2016, it was stipulated that overseas Chinese students who applied to study in colleges or universities in Taiwan, and with the following conditions:
1. had foreign passports other than those of Hong Kong, and Macao,
2. had never had household registration in Taiwan,
and 3. had currently and consecutively lived in Hong Kong, Macao, or other foreign countries for 6 years,
would be eligible for meeting the Regulations Regarding Study and Counseling Assistance for Overseas Chinese students in Taiwan. In September 2017, regulations for overseas Chinese student recruitment numbers were relaxed to enable schools to have more flexibility in recruiting students. Schools which had excellent recruitment records, had further recruitment plans, or had the requirement of expanding overseas Chinese student recruitment, should propose a project of increasing student intake (including strategies of quality control and supporting measures) to the Ministry of Education to be approved. In this project, the overseas Chinese student recruitment numbers could exceed the 10% of the student recruitment number approved in the previous academic year.
In the academic year 103, through measures such as relaxing regulations, increasing overseas Chinese student scholarships, and strengthening overseas Chinese student counseling and guidance, the number of overseas Chinese students in colleges and universities (including students from Hong Kong and Macao) reached more than 20,000; in the academic year 107, the number reached 24,575 students.
Guiding Overseas Taiwan Schools
In the 1990s’, to resolve the education issues of Taiwanese businessmen’s children, our government promoted the southbound policy. The School of the Republic of China was hence established, which in 1998, was transferred to be governed by the Ministry of Education. Currently, there are 5 overseas Taiwan schools in 3 countries as follows: Jakarta Taipei School, Surabaya Taipei International School, Chinese Taipei School (Kuala Lumpur), Chinese Taipei School Penang, and Ho Chi Minh City Taipei School. These overseas Taiwan schools operate in accordance with the education purposes, goals, and the current education systems of our nation. The student number in these schools has increased gradually. In the academic year 106, the student number reached 2,574 students. In 2002, the substitute civilian serviceman in education serving in overseas Taiwan schools was first implemented, to assist the administrative affairs in schools. In 2003, the revised Private School Law was declared, which provided the legislative resources for the establishment of overseas Taiwan schools. In 2005, the Regulations of Overseas Taiwan School Establishment and Guidance were announced; the school operation development system was established; and subsidies were provided to assist schools with school affairs development projects. In 2007, the teacher transfer and borrowing system was set up, to encourage outstanding in-service teachers in our nation to serve in overseas Taiwan schools, and further refine the teaching in those schools. In 2010, the Visit Project was undertaken, in which scholars and experts were consigned to visit these 5 overseas Taiwan schools. Following the visit results, the Promotional Overseas Taiwan Schools Development Program was established, which was contained within the Education Report of the Republic of China declared in 2011. In 2012, administrative visits were undertaken, and the Overseas Taiwan School Improvement and Development Project was also announced, to motivate overseas Taiwan schools to improve themselves and to set up a stable operation. Since 2013, all overseas Taiwan schools have gradually participated in the Retirement System of Private Universities in Taiwan, hoping to guarantee rights of teaching and other staff members. In 2015, the MOE Strengthening the Connection with Overseas Taiwan Schools Project was established. Through the implementation of all sorts of activities such as workshops, camps, and meetings for teachers and students in overseas Taiwan schools, the connection between overseas Taiwan schools and the education of our nation has been strengthened; and the overall operation development of overseas Taiwan schools has been assisted. In 2018, the revised Implementation Regulations of the Act Governing Retirement, Severance, and Bereavement Compensation for the Teaching and Other Staff Members of Public Schools was declared, which states that teachers who work in overseas Taiwan schools, after retiring from public primary and junior high schools in our nation, are exempted from the regulation of discontinuing acceptance of the monthly retirement pension. In addition to implementing formal education, overseas Taiwan schools are also important locations for promoting the Chinese language education of our nation. In 2018, 35 Chinese language classes were delivered, with 642 participants.
Attracting International Students to Study in Taiwan
In 1973, the Regulations Regarding International Students Undertaking Studies in the Republic of China (which in 1995, was renamed as the Regulations Regarding International Students Undertaking Studies in Taiwan) were declared and put into effect, serving as important legislative evidence of international students studying in Taiwan and related measures.
In 1998, the Ministry of Education held the Conference of the Higher Education and Vocational Education Internationalization, which had the function of declaring our nation’s policy of higher education internationalization. In 2001, the White Paper of University Education announced the required expenses of universities for designating basic budgeting of international interchanges and cooperation. In 2002, the Council of Economic Planning and Development of the Executive Yuan announced the “Challenge 2008: Six Year National Development Plan (2002-2007)”, which contained the International Innovation and R&D Base Plan. One of the goals of this project was “attracting foreign students.”
In 2004, our government proposed multiple related policy measures which demonstrated the gradual emphasis on recruiting international students. For instance, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Science Council, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs jointly provided Taiwan Scholarships so as to encourage talented outstanding international students to come to study in Taiwan. In 2004, the Executive Yuan Meeting listed “expanding the recruitment of international students studying in Taiwan” in the National Development Focal Project. The Ministry of Education hence declared the Regulations of MOE Subsidy Provision to Universities and Colleges in Expanding Recruitment of Foreign Students Project. In 2006, the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan was established, which represented our nation in participating in international academic activities concerning higher education. In 2009, the Ministry of Education promoted the “Ten Thousands Horses Galloping Ahead” Project (which is the Talented Youth Cultivation Project for International Affairs), hoping to enhance young students’ global perspectives, promoting international interchanges, and cultivating diverse talented individuals who met the national requirements. In the same year, the Regulations of MOE Subsidy Provision of Taiwan Higher Education Output Project were declared, in order to encourage universities, colleges, and private organizations whose work affairs involved international education promotion or higher education evaluation, to develop work projects related to multiple higher education output resource integration or service platforms. In 2010, the Regulations Regarding International Students Undertaking Studies in Taiwan were revised again, and included relaxed regulations on foreign student identification confirmation, and simplified admission procedures and processes of document reviewing.
In April 2011, the Ministry of Education announced the “Higher Education Output – Expansion of Recruiting International Students Action Project”, which clearly declared that the targeted groups were foreign students, students from Mainland Area, and overseas Chinese students. In July 2011, our government announced the series of policies titled “Golden Ten Years – Visions of Nation.” In “Vision no. 4: Quality Culture and Education” of this series of policies, our government proclaimed to “build Taiwan into the heartland of Higher Education in Eastern Asia” and to “develop towards becoming the dominant country of Chinese language education output.” On December 4, 2013, the MOE Talented Students and Teachers White Paper was announced, which aimed at achieving the prospects of “cultivating various excellent talents, and creating a thriving society of happiness together.” The “Internationalization of University Education and the Global Mobilization of Talented Students and Teachers” was listed as one of its main designs.
In 2018, the number of international students in universities and colleges in our nation reached 126,997. Compared with the number in 2007 (30,509 students), that amounted to an increase of 96,488 students, or 3.16 times higher. Among this number in 2018, there were 61,970 international students who participated in official degree programs, which was an increase of 6,054 students compared to the same category in 2017.
Planning and Operating the “MOE New Southbound Talented Development Program”
In accordance with the policy guidelines of “the New Southbound Policy” approved by the Office of the President in 2016, and the New Southbound Policy approved by the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Education, in October 2016, planned the New Southbound Talent Development Program, and organized multiple increased or expanded work projects. This program which was in effect from 2017, “took a people-oriented approach and aimed to foster bilateral exchanges and mutual resources sharing” in hoping to: lead the universities and colleges of our nation to explore practical education exchanges with ASEAN and South Asian nations, deepen the bilateral interaction and relationships of alliance, and achieve the vision of creating win-win talented individuals cultivation cooperation and economic area development. Through the following 3 aspects of project goals, all work projects have been continuously promoted:
1. Market: to provide a quality education industry, and bilateral talented individuals cultivation
- For Taiwanese youths to gain a deeper understanding of 3 aspects: Southeast Asian languages, knowledge of cultures, and economic trade and management.
- For ASEAN and South Asian students: through the professions of the higher education and vocational education in Taiwan, we assist ASEAN and South Asian students, and emphasize “ Taiwan experiences”, “ Technical practices”, and “Communication in Chinese language.”
2. Pipeline: the interflow of talented youths and scholars between Taiwan and New Southbound Policy countries
- Attract more outstanding Southeast and South Asian students to Taiwan for study or research.
- Encourage Taiwanese students to gain extensive experience in Southeast and South Asia.
- Through schools and sports, bilateral exchanges with New Southbound countries are carried out.
3. Platform: to expand the bilateral educational cooperation platform
- Establish the New Southbound Country Talented Individual Strategic Planning and Promotion Platform.
- Promote the Taiwan Connection Project; and facilitate the forging of bilateral alliances between Taiwanese colleges and universities and higher educational institutions in nations of ASEAN and South Asia.