Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has revealed its plans to boost the number of foreign students coming in to further their studies at its universities by 30,000 in three years.

Currently, the number of students from overseas studying in Taiwan is 28,000.

According to Taipei Times, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung said during a recent Education and Culture Committee policy meeting that the ministry has allocated a total of NT$1 billion (US$31.77 million) to push forward three new internationalization strategies.

NT$770 million would go towards training those specializing in trade management, who also possess an understanding of Southeast Asian and South Asian cultures and languages.

He added that the capital, Taipei, would be leveraged as an attractive study destination for students from countries in the region, both for higher education and professional education.

Taipei will also be marketed as a language learning hub for Mandarin, one of the most widely-spoken Chinese dialects, and the official language used in China and Taiwan.

Through this initiative, the ministry hopes to bring in more students from ASEAN member nations, as well as India, to help strengthen ties between the countries and Taiwan.

In order to further internationlise its institutions, the ministry is looking to forge more bilateral exchanges in cultural and sports activities, and has set aside NT$61 million for it.

NT$160 million will go towards encouraging universities to form academic exchanges and partnerships with their overseas counterparts.

Pan also said that the ministry would assist local institutions in designing suitable curricula that would meet the needs of international students to ensure that universities were not only aiming to achieve recruitment goals and that high-quality graduates would be produced.

In the meeting, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chung Chia-pin suggested that the ministry introduce job placement programs for foreign students to help them gain valuable work experience in Taiwan.

The island nation’s universities are among the best in the region, such as its flagship public university, National Taiwan University, which is ranked at 68 in the QS World University Rankings 2016/17. It also has two more institutions in the Top 200: National Tsing Hua University (151) and National Chiao Tung University (174).

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