Taiwan’s Ministry of Education is encouraging public and private universities in Taiwan to launch “special international programmes” to attract overseas Taiwanese and international students, reported the Taipei Times.
Quoting the ministry, the report said students enrolled in these programmes should know basic Mandarin and English before coming to Taiwan.
The policy is set to begin in August and aims to enrol 1,000 students specialising in manufacturing, construction, agriculture and long-term care, said the ministry.
Mandarin requirement for students
There are currently 14,000 international students and overseas Taiwanese in Taiwan. The government hopes to triple this number to 42,000 in 2030.
The Taipei Times reported that only students with A2-level Mandarin are currently allowed to study in Taiwan, with the only exception being the New Southbound International Programs of Industry-Academia Collaboration, which do not require students to be fluent in Mandarin.
However, the “special international programmes” targets students who are not fluent in Mandarin.
After learning Mandarin for a year and reaching A2 level, students can major in four areas — manufacturing, construction, agriculture and long-term care — or take speciality classes that fall under the programme.
Students must pass B1-level Mandarin when they are in their second year.
Universities in Taiwan should offer at least 15 hours of Mandarin classes per week and at least 720 hours each year.
The ministry would provide participating universities with a one million New Taiwan dollar (US$34,837) subsidy and offer a grant of NT$50,000 to each student who takes Mandarin classes, it added.
Department of Higher Education Deputy Director-General Chu Chun-chang was quoted saying by the daily that only universities in Taiwan that have had no issues regarding recruitment in the past three years, have solid language education and counselling resources can participate.
Taiwan’s growing popular among international students
Taiwan’s popularity as a study abroad destination has been growing over the years.
The deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India Dr. Mumin Chen previously said that Indians are the fastest-growing group of international students studying in Taiwan.
Some 1,000 Indian students were studying in Taiwan five years ago. This figure grew to 2,783 in 2019-20 and 2,239 in 2020-21.
There are many appeals to studying in Taiwan, including a lower cost of living than in other Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea and Japan.
The island state offers international students reasonable tuition fees, a safe and friendly learning environment, and English-conducted programmes in many universities, said Chen.
Study in Taiwan notes that Taiwan’s higher education system provides opportunities for international students to study a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Mandarin Chinese language and history to tropical agriculture and forestry, genetic engineering, business, semi-conductors, to name a few.
There are 153 universities and colleges in Taiwan; 10 Taiwanese universities listed in the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings 2022, and 15 within the 1,000-range.